Woe To Those Who Give Not The Zakah (1), By Imam Gusau

Monday, Ramadan 19, 1439 AH (June 4, 2018)

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Know that Zakah is one of Islam’s pillars and great foundations. It is Joined by Allah The Almighty with prayer (Salah) in many locations of His Glorious Book. The source of its obligation lies in the Quran, the Prophetic Sunnah and the consensus (Ijma’) of the Islamic Ummah.

Concerning the Book of Allah The Almighty, a mention may be made of His Saying:

“And establish prayer and give zakah and obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy.” [Quran, 24:56]

“O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.” [Quran, 9:34-35]

As far as the Prophetic Sunnah is concerned, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Islam is based on five (pillars): to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; to establish prayer; to give Zakah; to observe the fast of Ramadan; and to perform Hajj to the House (i.e. the Ka‘abah) for him who could find thereto a way).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Messenger of Allah further said:

“Any owner of gold or silver who does not pay the Zakah due on it will, on the Day of Resurrection, have his treasure heated in the Fire of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks, forehead and back will be branded with them. Every time they (i.e. the plates) get cold, they will be heated again on a day that will last fifty-thousand years. This will be done to him until Allah Pronounces the judgment on His slaves. Then one will be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hellfire.” [Muslim]

– Ruling on Zakah:

Dear Servants of Allah! Zakah is due on everyone who meets the following conditions:

1. Faith in Islam: the disbeliever is not asked to give it even though he will be accounted for not giving it since the disbelievers are addressed by Shari’ah commands.

2. Freedom: it is not due on a slave’s wealth even though it is due on the wealth of the mentally disabled and children.

3. The full possession of the due Nisab (i.e. the minimum amount liable for Zakah) and the Nisab of each kind will be accurately defined later In Shaa Allah. If one’s wealth is less than the Nisab, no Zakah will be due except for the Rikaz, which is what is found buried from the time of Jahiliyyah (i.e. pre-Islamic period of ignorance).

4. Stability of Nisab: it is not due on the share of the Mudharib before distributing the money.

5. The elapse of a full lunar year on prices, articles of merchandise and live stock. Concerning grains, fruits, what comes out from the land, products of grazing animals, the profit from trade and Rikaz, Zakah is due on that even if a full lunar year does not elapse on it.

In other words, Zakah is due on every free Muslim in full possession of a due Nisab upon which a lunar year has elapsed, whether he is young or old, sane or insane. The only exception is that the young or insane does not give out his Zakah by himself but it is given out by his guardian.

– Kinds of wealth on which Zakah is due:

1. Currencies and prices (i.e. gold, silver and cash money)

2. Articles of merchandise

3. Livestock

4. What comes out from the land of grains and fruits

The focus will be made in what follows on prices and articles of merchandise.

– The due Nisab of Zakah on prices and articles of merchandise:

1. The Nisab of gold is 20 dinars (i.e. approximately 85 grams).

2. The Nisab of silver is 200 dirhams (i.e. approximately 595 grams).

3. The Nisab of cash money is debatable.

– Zakah on articles of merchandise:

Articles of merchandise are goods planned for sale with the intention of making profit, like cars, equipment and various kinds of commodities ready for trade (i.e. those which are purchased with the intention to be sold in trade rather than to be used). If a lunar year elapsed, a merchant should assess the commodities he has according to their market value at the very time Zakah became due on him rather than according to their value on the day he bought them. This is in order not to wrong the poor, in case the price rose, or the merchant, in case the price fell. The assessment should depend on the retail price for the retailers, the wholesale price for the wholesalers and the average for those who combine both.

Notice: a man may buy a commodity with the intention to sell it and make a profit but he uses it instead. On the other hand, another man may buy a commodity with the intention to use it and, seeing it improper, he sells it instead. On which of both is Zakah due?

The separating limit is the original intention. If one’s original purpose when purchasing a commodity is to sell and trade in it, then it will belong to the articles of merchandise on which Zakah is due even though it may probably be used. If the original purpose of buying is to use it, then no Zakah will be due on it even though it may probably be sold.

If one bought a commodity with the intention to use it and a year later intended to sell it, it would be considered an article of merchandise from that very date and not from the date he bought it. Vice versa, if he bought it with the intention to traffic in it and a year later he intended to use it, Zakah would not be due from that very date and would be due only for the previous time.

– Zakah on shares:

Concerning the Zakah of shared companies, the purpose of a shareholder from possession is one of two:

1. To intend an investment in the long term and gain profits and revenues. For example, if he is in the Saudi market, no Zakah will be due on the shareholder because as I know the company pays it on his behalf. If he is in another market where the companies do not abide by paying Zakah, he should estimate the Zakah by accounting the real holdings on which Zakah is due far from the market value. If it is difficult for him and he likes to be more cautious, then he should give Zakah like the rights of sharers (i.e. owners) which is 2.5%. The rights of sharers are the total assets minus the total deductions and the result is multiplied by 2.5%.

2. To intend by possession of shares to trade or make a Mudharabah with the expectation that their price will rise so as to sell them. That is to buy today and sell tomorrow and so on. This person should give Zakah on the shares he has like articles of merchandise. If a lunar year elapsed on him, he should consider the market value rather than the nominal or real value of the shares and give Zakah on them as articles of merchandise (i.e. 2.5%).

A differentiation should be made between an investor and a Mudharib. The one who intends to sell a share within a year is a Mudharib on whom the Zakah of articles of merchandise is due and the one who intends to sell after more than a year is an investor.

– Equity funds:

Equity funds are frequently like a Mudharib in purchasing and selling shares. So the Zakah due on them is like that due on articles of merchandise as was clarified in number (2). If it is the day that ends a lunar year on which an almsgiver gives out his Zakah, he should assess the equities he has on that day and give out as much as 2.5% thereof. It is worth mentioning that the funds themselves usually do not give out Zakah and it is entrusted to the customer, the owner of the equities.

– Zakah on jewelry:

Scholars have two different opinions about the obligation of Zakah on jewelry. What is intended by jewelry is only gold and silver. No Zakah is due on precious stones, pearls and the like, regardless of how high their price may be.

1. The first opinion claims that no Zakah is due on jewelry because the purpose is to use them permissibly rather than to trade in them. Thus, the meaning of increase does not apply to them, neither in reality nor in consideration. They bring many indications in support of this opinion and, at the same time, render weak the indications of those who advocate the obligation of Zakah on jewelry. This opinion is adopted by many scholars.

2. The other opinion argues that Zakah is due on jewelry in view of the general traditions concerning the Zakah on gold and silver and the Hadith of the woman with the two bracelets and others. This is the opinion of many scholars including Ibn Baz, Ibn Uthaymin and others.

However, it is worth mentioning that, in the case of adopting the opinion that no Zakah is due on the jewelry of women, the following criteria should be observed:

A. To intend only adornment thereby and, in case saving is intended, Zakah becomes due on it.

B. To intend to use it in a current rather than a future need. An example of a future need is that one keeps it for his would-be wife. In this case, Zakah becomes due on it.

C. To remain fit for adornment. But whatever is crushed or broken and thus becomes unusable thereof, then Zakah is due on it because it is not prepared for such use.

D. To be used permissibly. If its use is impermissible, then Zakah becomes due on it. An example of impermissible use is to be in the form of a statue or an idol and so on.

E. Not to exceed the limit of moderation and usage in the amount of jewelry that is used. But if it exceeds the limits of extravagancy, then Zakah becomes due on what is beyond the limit of moderate usage.

– Zakah on salaries:

Zakah is not due on a salary once it is received. It should be joined with what one has. If a lunar year elapsed and he has something thereof, he should give out Zakah for it.

– Zakah on residential date-palm trees:

Some people have date-palm trees in their homes or resorts whose fruits reach the due Nisab and take no heed of giving the Zakah due on them. The due Nisab of fruits is five Wasaqs and the Wasaq is sixty Sa’is (i.e. three-hundred Sa’is or nearly six-hundred and fifty-three or six-hundred and twelve kilograms). If the date-fruits reach the due Nisab, one-twentieth (i.e. 5%) becomes due because it is irrigated by artificial means as is prevalent in our lands these days. If it is watered by rain, then one-tenth (i.e. 10%) is due. If it is equally watered by artificial as well as natural means then 7.5% is due.

– Channels of spending Zakah:

The channels of spending Zakah are the eight categories mentioned in Saying of Allah The Almighty:

“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Quran, 9:60]

– The following points should be made here:

* Zakah is neither permissible nor sufficient for him upon those whom the almsgiver should spend like a child, wife or father. According to some scholars, Zakah is not valid for everyone whom the almsgiver should inherit when that one dies.

* Zakah to a relative is better than to anyone else because it acts both as Zakah and a means of strengthening kinship ties. Relatives are worthier of the favour, provided that they are not among those upon whom the almsgiver should spend as was previously clarified.

* Zakah should not be paid to the almsgiver’s employees, such as a driver and servant, in order to avoid mixing Zakah with obligatory fees.

* It is permissible to pay Zakah in advance to serve a public benefit such as when a calamity befalls the Muslims or there is a needy person whose state requires Zakah to be given in advance. In such a case, Zakah may be paid in advance and deducted from the obligatory alms when a lunar year elapses.

* It is also permissible to delay Zakah to serve a predominant need or benefit. Such a case is when the lunar year elapses on one upon whom Zakah is due and he has no money at hand to pay Zakah from or he has goods offered for sale which he could only sell after a long time. In this case, there is no harm to delay Zakah till money becomes available. Another example is that the almsgiver knows that his relative is in need and he could only convey Zakah to him after a long time. At any rate regardless of what Zakah is delayed, with or without a legal excuse, the almsgiver remains liable for it and will not be free from this obligation until he gives it. It should be accounted from the very day it becomes due rather than the day on which it is paid.

– How to calculate Zakah:

A Muslim could calculate his Zakah according to one of the following two ways:

1. To make for each lump sum he gains an independent lunar year from the very moment he possesses it until it amounts the due Nisab and, if a lunar year elapses on that kind of money, he will give Zakah on what he has of it and the same applies to all kinds. For example, if one receives the salary for the month of Muharram, its lunar year will be Muharram of the following year and the lunar year of the salary of Safar will be Safar of the following year. The same applies to any money he receives, that is, to record the very day on which he receives that money and then wait for the elapse of a lunar year on it. But it should be kept in mind that if the money is a trade profit or comes from that of a previous Zakah, it should have the same lunar year of the principal and not an independent year. Nevertheless, this way is somewhat difficult.

2. The other way is easier; it is to consider the time at which one attains a due Nisab and waits until a lunar year elapses from the very date he got the Nisab. Then, he gives Zakah on all the wealth he has on which Zakah is due even if no lunar year elapsed on the whole of it. At the same time every year, he should give out Zakah on the wealth he has. This way he will be relieved of calculating Zakah on each part of his wealth individually.

– A practical example for Zakah according to the second way:

Fix for yourself a day for Zakah, say, the fifteenth of Ramadan every year. Being so, when it is the fifteenth of Ramadan this year, you should collect the following:

* Your cash stock whether in bank accounts or cash in hand.

* The market value of the Mudharabah shares on that day.

* The last assessment of equities on equity funds.

* Gold and silver not prepared for the adornment of women like gold ingots.

* Gold and silver prepared for adornment according to the opinion which adopts the obligation of Zakah on it.

* Debts you have with others in case your debtors are rich and the debts are payable during the same year.

* All you offered for sale of land, homes, livestock or goods in a marketplace or others.

* The total of all that was previously mentioned minus the debts you owe and expect to pay throughout the same year. For example, if you buy a house in installments for one million Naira, you should not deduct the whole sum but only what you will pay throughout the present year: the installment sum multiplied by twelve.

The final result of all that was previously mentioned minus debts is the money on which Zakah is due.

In conclusion, I remind all my respected Brothers and Sisters to exalt the symbols of Allah The Almighty, perform them as they are commanded by their Lord and learn that wealth belongs to Allah The Almighty which He Distributes among His servants to Test which of them is better in deed and in this let the competitors compete.

May Allah Accept from all of us our fasting, Qiyam and righteous deeds. Allah Knows best and may He Send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, all his family and Companions.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Wassalamu Alaikum

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. The Imam can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Feeding The Poor And The Needy In Ramadan, By Imam Gusau

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Assalamu Alaikum/Barkan mu da shan ruwa

Ramadan is the month of reflection, soul searching and refreshing our Iman. It is also the month to try to save ourselves from the hellfire. One of the acts prescribed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for this purpose is sadaqa (charity).

According to the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“Charity extinguishes the sin just as water extinguishes the fire. The man’s prayer late at night has the same effect.”

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Every day the sun rises, charity (Sadaqa) is due on every joint of a person: you administer justice between two men is a charity; and assisting a man to mount his beast, or helping him load his luggage on it is a charity; and a good word is a charity; and every step that you take (towards the Masjid) for Salah (prayer) is a charity and removing harmful things from the road is a charity.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

During Ramadan, the generosity of Prophet (Peace be upon him) knew no bounds. Narrated by Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him):

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was the most generous of people. He used to be the most generous in Ramadan when he would meet with Angel Jibril (AS) and study the Quran with him. Angel Jibril (AS) would meet with the Prophet every night in Ramadan to teach him the Quran. The Prophet was so generous when he met with Jibril (AS), more generous than the wind that brings rain.”

Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said:

“When Ramadan would start, the Prophet would release all prisoners of war and fulfill the need of every person who would ask him for something.”

Wassalamu Alaikum

~ Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. +2348038289761. Tuesday, Ramadan 13, 1439 AH (29/05/2018)

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Friday Sermon: The Importance And Significance Of Learning History In Islam, By Imam Gusau

n The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and from the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is Ever-watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The great Indian Islamic scholar and historian Shaykh Abu Al-Hasan Ali An-Nadwi observes, like other sages of Islam have before, that Islam, being the last and universal religion of Allah, has a unique history of internal revival, reform and self-rejuvenation.

Allah Almighty sent the message of Islam at a chosen moment in the development of human history where the technological, scientific and intellectual understanding of humanity as a whole was reaching a stage of final maturation and ripening. Instead of geographically confined nations and tribal systems which all received their own messengers from Allah, the humanity was now ripe for one, universal, perfected and final message of Allah.

The development of the Islamic Ummah in history was amazingly rapid. It was full of trials and tribulations and encounters with other cultures and religious systems. As a result, the final message of Allah was embodied in a civilization that was enriched by all the great civilizations of the world. Within the first century of its birth, Islam spread across half the known and majority of the civilized world of that time. As different people became Muslims or came under the rule of Islam, the scholars of Islam came from increasingly diverse regions, thus enriching the flowering and protection of Islamic scholarship and tradition with their own cultural strengths. The contributions of the Persians in bureaucracy and culture, the Hindus in mathematics, the Greeks in logic, the Turks in military and architecture fields, just to name a few, all became sources of strength of Islam. On the other hand, the previous philosophical and religious systems of the new lands both challenged and influenced the Muslim scholars. All these factors make the history of Islam extremely fast-moving, diverse and filled with conflicts, debates and upheavals. Each of these experiences, however, also helped it mature and develop.

Dear Servants of Allah! Whenever the Ummah of Islam faced a new danger, internal or external, Allah Almighty raised among the Muslims scholars and leaders who protected the true religion of Allah Almighty and revived it in its true, pristine form. This ubiquitous phenomenon is known to the historian as revivalism or tajdid.

The Ummah of Islam, with its preserved source-texts (the Quran and the Hadith), scholarship and legacy, has survived all its enemies only because of the special Divine arrangements. In history, this protection and guidance of Allah Almighty has been actualized in the form of the rise of great scholars and leaders, fields of scholarship like the sciences of the Quran, of Hadith, of jurisprudence and its principles, the preservation of the Arabic language and so on.

Today, the Muslim Ummah faces great challenges from all sides. But an observer of Islamic history recognizes that the situation is neither new nor hopeless: in fact, these trials and challenges are part of Allah’s plan to take the Ummah of Islam and the message of Islam up to a new level of strength and recognition in this world.

To learn Islamic history is to inquire how Allah’s ways have worked and His will carried out at the hands of myriads of individuals and groups and how His promises have come true. To look at history Islamically is to keep an eye on the moral, spiritual and ethical dimensions of all episodes in history, however big or small. This is precisely why the Quran makes learning history in some ways an act of faith and a source of wisdom.

* Why learn history

– Reasons from the Quran

Just as the food we eat constitutes our bodies, our history constitutes our minds. Our ideas, concepts, sentiments, and preferences, in short, what makes us human, is largely a result of our past experiences. Individuals, peoples, institutions, or nations, all acquire their particular nature or identity primarily because of their unique histories. We cannot know ourselves without knowing where we have been and come from. Not knowing where we come from leaves us without our sense of selfhood. Loss of identity leaves us without a purpose, like a ship without destination, at the mercy of merciless winds. This loss of identity has been mentioned in the Quran as a punishment from Allah. He Almighty Says:

“And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves…” [Quran, 59: 19]

People who forget who they were may forget who they ought to be. This leads to self-deceit and arrogance. Allah Almighty reminds every human being again and again of his or her individual ‘history,’ to shake them up from their disbelief and arrogance. Allah Says:

“Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted? Then he was a clinging clot, and [Allah] created [his form] and proportioned [him].” [Quran, 75:37-38]

And:

“Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary?” [Quran, 36:77]

In the chapters of Al-Fil and Quraish, Allah Almighty reminds the people of Quraish of his favours upon them in the past, encouraging them to learn moral lessons from their history. He Almighty Says:

“Have you not considered [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant (Ashabil Fil)?” [Quran, 105:1]

And:

“For the accustomed security of the Quraish – Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer – Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.” [Quran: 106]

Allah Almighty repeatedly commands the Muslims in the Quran to observe, consider, and reflect upon the lessons from the history of bygone nations. Instructing the Muslims in moral and spiritual history of the earlier nations seems to be one of the major emphasis of the Quran. The fact that majority of Allah’s Final Message consists of stories of moral struggle of earlier peoples is an indication of the significance of learning history, and learning it with the right perspective of seeking lessons.

The following are a few lessons that can be drawn from the Quranic perspective on history:

1. Universality Of Lessons

The lessons from the rise or fall of any nation in the past are valid for all humanity, for there are some unalterable, universal laws or principles that apply to all nations depending on their specific conditions. The Quran calls these laws the Sunan (established ways of dealing) of Allah Almighty:

“…But you will never find in the way of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration.” [Quran, 35:43]

2. Moral-spiritual Interpretation

While modern historians focus on different dimensions of history and offer different bases for the interpretation of history based on their respective belief systems, the basis of Quranic storytelling is emphatically moral and spiritual. In other words, Allah Almighty demands of us to look first and foremost at the moral aspects of a nation’s history. Nations fall, for example, is not due primarily to economic failures, but due to the moral-spiritual failure to properly dispense economic justice based on the correct belief in and obedience to Allah Almighty. In the chapter of Al-A’raf, after relating several stories of encounter between the truthful Prophets of Allah and their disbelieving people, Allah Almighty summarizes the lessons of these stories by saying:

“And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning.” [Quran, 7:96]

3. Learning Moral Lessons From History Is An Obligation

The cause of the downfall of nations one after the other in the aforementioned verse [Quran, 7:96] is that they neglected the moral lessons of the history of their forefathers, and thought that the same does not apply to them. Allah Almighty Says:

“And what prevented the people from believing when guidance came to them except that they said, ‘Has Allah sent a human messenger?’ Say, ‘If there were upon the earth angels walking securely, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel [as a] messenger.’” [Quran, 17:94-95]

4. History Is The Best Way To Teach And Caution

The Quran could have been a book of abstract theories of laws that govern societies, or simply a list of do’s and don’ts. But the fact that our Creator, Allah, the Most Wise, has chosen story telling as a chief means to caution and education of the humankind necessarily means that humans have a propensity to learn from other’s examples. Successful teachers and preachers of Islam always have a good grasp of history.

5. History Of All Humanity Is Relevant

By Islamic history, we often mean the history of Muslims. But the Quran is full of history of rebellious nations. We conclude that so long as the framework of history is Islamic (i.e., moral spiritual), no part of human history is irrelevant to the believers.

6. History Repeats Itself

It has become a cliché that history repeats itself. This is true inasmuch as all struggles of good and evil are bound by the universal Sunan (principles) established by Allah Almighty. In order to show the Muslim Ummah its potential failings, the Quran focuses on the moral stories of the Children of Israel, for they were, as some Islamic scholars have observed, ‘the ex-Muslim Ummah.’

7. Systematic Learning Of The Science Of History Is A Requisite

The Quran, the Final Message of Allah Almighty, is a book of guidance and contains all foundational principles and general moral exhortations that will suffice all those who seek Allah Almighty till the Day of Judgment. The Quran is not a book of history, and the way it tells stories presumes that the audience has some knowledge of the history being told. If the Quraish, for instance, did not know the something about the history of Aad, Thamud and the destruction of the army of Abrahah and his Elephants, the Quranic references to these incidents would make little sense to them. The Quran provides the moral interpretation to the human drama of life and gives many instructive examples. But it is an obligation of Muslims to learn as accurately and objectively as possible the facts of history so the Quranic principles could be correctly applied, since fulfilling the requisites of an obligation is an obligation itself. To learn objectively the science of history, therefore, is part of Islamic obligation upon the Muslim Ummah, without which they cannot fully benefit from the message of the Quran.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Remarkably, the chapter of Al-A’raf, the Heights, the seventh chapter of the Noble Quran, has for its theme the topic that we are concerned with here, that is, history. Or more precisely, it is about the manifestation of Allah’s message of Tawhid, monotheism, in history and the various human responses to it.

This theme is lost to most cursory readers of the Quran. Remarkably few readers notice that every chapter of the Quran has a unique theme, an ethos that sets it apart from all other chapters and hence the meanings every chapter derives from the same historical event are different. This is why the same historical event appears to have been narrated several times in the Quran in different chapters; few realize that it is not mere repetition; it has a different purpose and perspective each time. In the chapter of Al-A’raf, the theme of the narratives is to give a sense of the historical progression of humankind and how different groups of humans responded to the Truth of Allah Almighty. It begins by reassuring the Prophet Muhammad that his mission is not only true, it is the truth – the truth around which the entire history of humanity revolves. Hence he should have no hesitation in reminding his folks of their Creator and warn them of their waywardness. To reassure him, Allah Almighty calls to witness the entire history of humankind. He Almighty Says:

“Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. [This is] a Book revealed to you [O Muhammad] – so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom – that you may warn thereby and as a reminder to the believers. Follow (O mankind!) what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow other than Him any allies. Little do you remember! And how many cities have We destroyed, and Our punishment came to them at night or while they were sleeping at noon!” [Quran, 7:1-4]

Then, the chapter recounts the story of the creation, emphasizing the promise Shaitan (Satan) made to himself that he will do his best to deceive and delude the humanity. Human history is a sad witness to how he has been able to triumph over human reason and goodness so often — despite Allah’s clear signs. The chapter recounts stories of Allah’s message in human societies, and after relating several stories of encounter between the truthful Prophets and their disbelieving people, it summarizes the lessons of these stories by saying:

“And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning.” [Quran, 7:96]

One thing Shaitan (Satan) often did successfully, the chapter states, was to make people forget the true meanings of their history. The cause of the downfall of nations one after the other in the aforementioned verse is that they neglected the moral lessons of the history of their forefathers, and thought that the same does not apply to them. Allah The Most High Says:

“And We sent to no city a Prophet [who was denied] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah]. Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, ‘Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease.’ So We seized them suddenly while they did not perceive.” [Quran, 7: 94-95]

One remarkable verse of this chapter comes after a long description of the rise and fall of the Israelites, and tells us how they became more and more corrupt because instead of learning lessons from their past and holding fast to the Book of Allah, they became adept at making excuses for themselves. Allah Almighty Says:

“And there followed them successors who inherited the Scripture [while] taking the commodities of this lower life and saying, ‘It will be forgiven for us.’ And if an offer like it comes to them, they will [again] take it. Was not the covenant of the Scripture taken from them that they would not say about Allah except the truth, and they studied what was in it? And the home of the Hereafter is better for those who fear Allah, so will you not use reason?” [Quran, 7:169]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Let us now look at some of the most prominent advantages of learning history of humanity from an Islamic perspective.

1. Faith And Certainty

When connected to a Quranic understanding of history, a believer feels connected to the numerous Prophets, reformers, martyrs and inviters/callers to Allah Almighty who have struggles and sacrificed in the way of Allah since the dawn of humanity. The facts of history bear witness that the truth always prevails and Allah’s side is always victorious, and this increases the believers in faith and certainty in their cause.

2. Liberation From The Deception Of Narrow Materialist Thinking

History of rise and fall of nations makes us realize the fleeting nature of power and glory in this world. A thoughtful look at history shows us that the nations that today arrogantly rebel against Allah Almighty and oppress others based on their material superiority or their military superiority were not too long ago dependent and weak, and will soon be replaced by others. It is human nature to be deceived by a ‘static’ view of history, that makes us think that those who are wealthy, strong and powerful today have always been so and will always remain so.

Imam Al-Ghazali gives an example of this weakness and shortsightedness of human senses. He said:

“If we look at the Sun, it appears still, and if we did not know the big picture and know its course of daily rising and setting, we would imagine that it will always stay up in the sky shining forever. Just as our eyes deceive us about the Sun being static; our lack of knowledge of history and of Allah’s ways misleads us into thinking that the wealth and power are permanent.”

3. Tolerance And Forbearance

Critical knowledge of one’s origins and one’s past is always humbling and eye-opening. In the history of Islam, one often sees some ignorant followers of a great Islamic scholar fighting the followers of another Islamic scholar, while the two scholars greatly respected and learned from each other. If we know even a little history of how the Islamic sciences of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Hadith developed through diverse and multiple contributions of scholars from all over the world, how the pioneering scholars were open-minded about criticisms to their verdicts and opinions, and how they changed their opinions when a reasonable argument was presented to them, we will never fight other Muslims over differences in opinions. The much-needed attitude of mutual tolerance and accommodation of opinions (within well-known Islamic limits) can be attained only through proper education of Islamic history.

4. Motivation And Inspiration

When the believers from the Israelites encountered the mighty giant Jalut (Goliath) and his tremendous army under the leadership of Saul (Talut), people felt overwhelmed by the enemy’s strength, except a few who had obeyed their leader. These few reminded their fellow believers of lessons from history to encourage them to fight for the truth. Here is the story in the Quran. Allah Almighty Says:

“And when Saul went forth with the soldiers, he said, ‘Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is indeed of me, excepting one who takes [from it] in the hollow of his hand.’ But they drank from it, except a [very] few of them. Then when he had crossed it along with those who believed with him, they said, ‘There is no power for us today against Goliath and his soldiers.’ But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said, ‘How many a small company has overcome a large company by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient.’” [Quran, 2:249]

Dear Servants of Allah! In summary, the today’s Sermon have made the case that reading human history from a correct perspective, the spiritual and moral perspective, is an obligation of the Muslim Ummah without which we cannot properly understand and apply the message of the Quran. And that Islamic history is not only history of Muslims, but any history learned with the eye on Allah’s plan and on moral and spiritual forces at work. This does not mean that Muslims can neglect material explanations for historical changes – in fact one cannot fully understand the moral or religious challenges without carefully sifting through the political, economic, military and social challenges of any given time. Hence, by learning history, carefully and critically, both as amateurs and as academic scholars, we will be reminded time and again of Allah’s power and plan and of the power of faith and hope in Him Almighty. Thus, our learning can become a guide towards the regeneration and revival of the Muslim Ummah.

* On The Recent Texas Shooting

Dear Brothers and Sisters! It has truly become the wild west. Ten killed and ten injured in the twenty-second school shooting in the United States in 2018 last week at Santa Fe High School, near Houston, Texas and the media has already moved on.

The teen terrorist was wearing a trench coat with Nazi, fascist, and religious symbols. Unsurprisingly, the media, which always jumps ahead of itself in identifying a criminal as Muslim, has been silent about the attacker’s faith and refrained from calling him a terrorist.

This teen murderer was clearly a product of their violent culture. He was wearing a shirt that said “Born to Kill”; his Facebook page had artwork inspired by the music of neo-Nazi groups and the Alt-Right. This culture of violence allows us to ignore the murder of  those we consider “The Other”, like the 60 Palestinian protesters killed by the Israeli army earlier this month. It also allows us to tolerate and forget the appointment of a known torturer to one of the highest positions in the United States, which, like this shooting, also took place last week.

After each mass shooting, America gives the tragedy a little attention before turning to other topics, in this case, the royal wedding. But the student movement of #NeverAgain, which emerged from the school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year is changing this attitude.

As Muslims, it is our responsibility to not only connect to Allah in prayers, but to also take appropriate steps to change this culture of violence.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Servants of Allah! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Sermon and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Ramadan 9, 1439 AH (May 25, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. The Imam can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: The Consequences Of Sectarianism And Disunity In The Ummah, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Respected Servants of Allah! Today, in my Sermon, I want to address a common problem that the Ummah nowadays faces. It is called sectarianism and disunity. The Muslim Ummah is besieged with increasing problems. And this predicament is not unconnected with the way it ignores the honourable and true message brought by the Noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) especially as it relates to unity. This no doubt is the root cause of all humiliations it experiences in different parts of the world such as Nigeria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Central African Republic, in the west and a host of others.

Generally speaking, unity is an unavoidable measure for the development and for the attainment of one’s needs. It is on the basis of unity the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), ECOMOG, G8 and lots of others were established. Then why should the Muslims divide? No doubt, all persecutions, humiliations, disgrace and extreme poverty befalling the Ummah are nothing but resultant effects of its division.

Unity is the central focus and one of the wisdom in legislating Ramadan fasting with greater emphasis on the need for all Muslims to be united and shun all trivial issues that tend to divide them. Despite its numeric strength and bountiful resources, the Ummah has become the laughing stock of its detractors due to divisions and enmity spread by its detractors and their stooges from within! Allah says:

“Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many of them He grants forgiveness.” [Qur’an, 26:31]

In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) has said:

“No community differed after (the demise of) their Prophet except that the people of their falsehood gained mastery over the people of their truth.”

The growing disunity is therefore detested and it is important for the Ummah to address this most lingering problem. On the need for the Ummah to remain unconditionally united, Allah has clearly warned:

“Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs; for them is a clear chastisement.” [Qur’an, 3:105]

All Muslims should make it their point of duty to heed such exhortation.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Modern-day violence among sects of Islam often spring primarily from political, not religious motives. The Qur’an is very clear in its guidance to Muslims that it is wrong to divide into sects or groups and fight one another. Allah the Almighty said:

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you (Muhammad) have no part of them in the least. Their affair is with Allah; He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Qur’an, 6:159]

And He said:

“Surely, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher, therefore serve me and no other. But they broke their religion into sects among them; yet they will all return to Us.” [Qur’an, 21:92-93]

And He the Most High said:

“And surely this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher, therefore fear Me and no other. But people have broken their religion into sects, each group rejoicing in that which is with them. But leave them in their confused ignorance for a time.” [Qur’an, 23:52-54]

And He the Almighty said:

“Turn back in repentance to Him, and fear Him. Establish regular prayers, and be not among those who ascribe partners to Allah — those who split up their religion, and become mere sects, each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!” [Qur’an, 30:31-32]

And He said:

“The believers are but a single Brotherhood. So make peace and reconciliation between your two contending brothers, and observe your duty to Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Qur’an, 49:10-11]

Dear Servants of Allah! The Qur’an is clear in its condemnation of sectarian violence, and also speaks against terrorism and the harming of innocent people. In addition to the guidance of the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also warned his followers about breaking into groups or sects and fighting one another.

On one occasion, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) drew a line in the sand and told his Companions that this line is the Straight Path. He then drew additional lines, coming off the main line like branches springing from a tree. He told them that each diverted path had a shaytan (satan) along it, calling people to misguidance.

In another narration, it is said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told his followers:

“Beware! The People of the Book were split up into seventy-two sects, and this community (Ummah) will be split into seventy-three. Seventy-two of them will go to Hell, and one of them will go to Paradise, the majority group (The Jama’ah).”

My People! One of the paths to unbelief is to go around calling other Muslim “kafir” (unbeliever), something that people unfortunately do when they divide into sects and groups. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that anyone who calls another brother an unbeliever, is either telling the truth or is himself an unbeliever for making the accusation. Since we don’t know which Muslims are actually on the Straight Path, that is only for Allah to judge, we must not put such divisions amongst ourselves.

– Let’s ask ourselves now. What is sectarianism?

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Muslim sectarianism has many forms, many categories, numerous tentacles and many manifestations. Some extremely harmful, and some not as harmful. It reveals itself in varying ways according to time, place, people and sub-ideology. Some Muslim sects are relatively new and some are hundreds of years old. Some sects are built around individuals and some are built around ideas or supplemental philosophies. Some are hyper cultish with elaborate rituals and liturgical nuance, and some are very simple. Some sects require initiation, some don’t. Some sects are descriptive but not necessarily sectarian and some sects are sectarian at their core but vague in their description. Some are both. Some sects are local, regional and some are international. Some are all over the place and change with the changing of the times. So let’s first take a look at the meaning of the word:

Sect: According to the New Shorter Oxford Dictionary; Is a body or group of people subscribing to views that are divergent from other people of the same religion.

Sectary: a person who is zealous in the cause of his sect or his group.

Sectarian: According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, sectarian (adjective) characteristic of a sect. Also, having limited character or scope. (noun) adherent of a sect., narrow, bigoted.

Sectarianize: is to make sectarian

According to Wikipedia, sectarianism is: a form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.

That’s on the English side. However, we need to look at the Arabic side of the meaning of sectarianism because our primary scriptures are in Arabic, and the foundations of codified traditional knowledge in Islam are in Arabic. Thus, In the Arabic language, there are several words and phrases in the Qur’an that are used to denote sectarianism; for example; hizb (???), as in the verse:

“And surely this your religion is one religion and I am your Lord, therefore be careful (of your duty) to Me. But they cut off their religion among themselves into sects, each part (hizbin) rejoicing in that which is with them.” [Qur’an, 23:52-53]

Hizb however, could also simply mean a group of people; as in the verse:

“And when the true believers saw the clans (ahzaab), (confederate forces) they said: This is that which Allah and His messenger promised us. Allah and His messenger are true. It did but confirm them in their faith and resignation.” [Quran, 33:22]

In modern-day parlance, some groups use the word hizbee as a pejorative term meaning someone who is a sectarianist, or a party loyalist as in political party, or a specific Muslim group, representative of a specific ideology.

Another word used to describe sect in the Qur’an is shi’ite. I’m not talking about Shiite people here, I’m talking about the word shi’ite, as in the verse:

“Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects (shiya’an), you have no concern with them; their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did.” [Qur’an, 6:159]

The above aforementioned verse is not referring to any particular sect; it’s talking about breaking into sects and sectarianism in general. However, this conversation is not about semantics, and every Muslim sect can present their arguments why they are not a sect, why they are not sectarian or why they are the saved sect, or the best sect of all.

Allah forbid the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from supporting sectarianism in our religion, and the Prophet forbade the people from arguing about doctrine. The Prophet (Peace be upon him)  said:

“No people ever went astray, after they were guided, except that they were overcome by arguing.” [Collected by at-Tirmidhi]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The general rule of Islam with regards to this harmful sectarianism is to avoid it. Allah the Almighty said:

“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” [Qur’an 3:103]

– The Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) view on sectarianism and it’s by products

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) outlined many of the principles of non-sectarianism throughout his life as well as during his farewell Sermon when he said:

“There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab nor for a non-Arab over an Arab except by piety.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

He (Peace be upon him) further elucidated the foundation for actionable non-sectarianism when he said:

“verily your blood, your wealth, and your honour is sacred, like the sacredness of this day, of this month, and of the place.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

He cemented his disdain for sectarian practices when he said:

“Do not return after I’m gone to being like unbelievers, some of you striking the necks (fighting) of others.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Dear Servants of Allah! Sectarianism also has to do with abandoning the principles of Islamic brotherhood, disregarding the idea of racial equality, and lack of respect for the sanctity of life, honour and wealth as outlined by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in his farewell Sermon. Perhaps the most obvious and widespread manifestation of sectarianism is racism, but it is not the only manifestation of it.

Respected Servants of Allah! Muslim sectarianism has been around ever since shortly after the death of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). The Prophet warned us against it, the Qur’an warns us against it, and the Muslim world has suffered by it in the worse ways. The first social issue relating to sectarianism addressed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was racism. He addressed it by freeing slaves and elevating the status of the ex-slave to that of an already free non-slave Arab. He reiterated this principle throughout his tenure as a Prophet of Allah. Even at the end of his life, he appointed Usama Ibn Zaid as a General and commander of the Muslim army who included Umar and Abu Bakr and Usama was barely eighteen years old.

Sectarianism brings out the very worst in the Ummah, from the wars between the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), to the massacre of Muslims by other Muslims in so many countries, to the fratricidal warfare between Muslim groups throughout the ages, and even what we see today in many Muslim countries and now in Nigeria and elsewhere. Different groups calling the other unbelievers, Mosques being bombed, some Muslims protesting and causing untold hardships to the people. Violent extremism, petty Mosque politics, racism within the Ummah in many Muslim countries and even here in Nigeria. It can all be traced back to racism, sectarianism, disunity and the notion of the other.

– Muslim sectarianism in the modern sense

There are many faces of Muslim sectarianism. Sectarianism in the modern sense is the belief that your particular sect represents the whole of Islam, or that the addendums of faith, belief, and practice, representative of your sect, embodies the whole of Islam or the entirety of the message of Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him) whereas someone not subscribing to your additions, is considered less of a Muslim or even not a Muslim.

For example, if you believe that the Sheikh of your sect or the Amir or Chairman of your group is the only one that possesses true guidance of Islam and that believing in him and following him is necessary to obtain salvation, then you are sectarianized. If you believe that you must call yourself by the name of your sect, or your group in order to be rightly guided, then you have been sectarianized. If you believe that your brand of Islam is the only true brand of Islam in exclusion to all other brands of Islam, then you are sectarianized. If you cannot pray behind this or that person because they do not ascribe to your sect or group, then you are sectarianized.

Example of some types of sectarianism here in Nigeria are people who ascribe to the terms, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatis-Sunnah (Both Kaduna and Jos factions), Sufi groups like Fityanul Islam, Ahbabu, Tijaniyyah order (with all it’s divisions), Qadiriyyah order (with all their factions), Naqshabandiyyah, Shadhiliyyah, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Muslim Ummah of South Western Nigeria (MUSWEN), Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), Muslim Professionals in Da’awah (MPD), Ahmadiyyah Muslim Jama’ah, Ansaruddeen society of Nigeria, Nawair’uddeen society of Nigeria, Ansarul Islam society of Nigeria, Anwarul Islam Society of Nigeria, Anwarul Islam Movement of Nigeria, Nasrul-lahil Fat-hi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Muslim Student’s Society of Nigeria (MSSN), National Council of Muslim Youth (NACOMYO), Young Muslim Brothers and Sisters, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Women in Da’awah, Jama’atu Tabligh, Jama’atu Ta’awunil Muslimeen, Ideal Islamic Youth Association of Nigeria, The Muslim Congress (TMC), The Young Muslims, Muslim Corpers Association of Nigeria (MCAN), Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), The Islamic Society for Calling and Guidance of Nigeria, The Muslim Forum, Mosques and Islamic Centres in Nigeria, Islamic Youth League of Nigeria, Federation of Muslim Medical Laboratory Science Students, Foundation for Islamic Awareness, Ebirra Muslims Association of Nigeria (EMAN), Hausa Muslims Ummah Association, Igbo Muslims Association, Yoruba Muslims Association, Da’awah Consultative Forum, Al-Fatihul Quareeb Islamic Society of Nigeria, Aqibat lil Muttaqeen Society of Nigeria, Jam’iyyatu Ansorul Faidoti Awliya of Nigeria, Ahbabu-Dinil Islami Society of Nigeria, Zumratul Islamiyyah Society of Nigeria, Shi’ah (with all their factions), Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Baha’iyyah, Ibahiyyah and Ikhwaniyyah, just to name a few from over 1000 Islamic groups operating here in Nigeria; if you consider calling yourself by these names as a religious obligation and that those who don’t ascribe to these names are less of a Muslim than you, or that you are a better Muslim than they are, simply because of the sectarian title, then this is sectarianism. If you as an adherent of a particular sect or group, believe that only people of that sect or group are rightly guided, then that is sectarianism. If you are a member of a Muslim ideological group and believe that your group represents the totality of Islam in exclusion of other groups then you are a sectarianist. If because of group or sub-ideological differences, you declare the other to be an unbeliever your calling yourself. One of the hallmarks of sectarianism is to direct anything ranging from simple disdain or hostility, or the grand charge of heresy towards the other group that is different from your sect.

– Combating Sectarianism

Granted, combatting Muslim sectarianism is no simple proposition. People have to be unsectarianized. Sectarianism is taught, and it can be un-taught. There is a sectarian mindset, and there is an unsectarian mindset. It’s a monumental problem for converts because Muslim converts come into Islam pure of faith and are then taught sectarianism as they come along. Another problem is the colonial mental hold that the intellectual molestation that occurs through the multiplicity of different spheres of influence and teaching methodology thrust upon convert Muslims. This stuff didn’t happen overnight and it was very methodical, which on the one hand makes it a multi-layered problem but on the other hand makes it easy to trace how we got to this point, especially if you understand Muslim history. It is possible for a person to back his or her way out of sectarianism; it’s called deprogramming.

De-programming is not for everybody, but there are a lot of Muslims who do not want to be a part of a sect or any group, there are a lot who do not want to be racist, and there are many who do not want to be an extremist in their religion, and who do not want to be jumping from one sub-ideology of Islam to another, and who do not want, groupie-type Islam following someone who doesn’t have clue who you are. The problem is, not many Imams, or Islamic teachers are equipped to deal with this issue. Many Imams have no training whatsoever in the classical sciences of Islam which is problem also because you end up making stuff up, making up ideology, and things like that. That doesn’t help much either.

There is no one way to combat sectarianism since sectarianism and people who practice it or believe in it differ from time to time and from place to place. Fighting sectarianism is not so much as deconstructing every Muslim sect and polemicizing ideological arguments against it. It has more to do with promoting unity in spite of sectarianism and giving Muslims a clear choice on how not be stuck in a sectarian modality whereas you believe your sect offers the only path, or the best path to salvation. Unity is not for everyone; it’s for the people who want to be unified.

This is about the disruption of lives, the breaking of the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, about fratricide, incessant debates about micro-doctrine, splitting of communities, killing of Muslims around the world, arguing, fighting and fitnah in our Masaajid (Mosques).

I believe that there are Muslims out there who don’t want to sectarianize, who believe in what Allah says in the Qur’an, who believe in the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and what was reported from him according to authentic sources and believe that they will someday meet Allah, and want to meet Him as a Muslim, as Ahlus-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, and not as an adherent of any sub-sect of Islam. That is their choice and people should be made aware that there is such a choice.

There is a need to address the dangers and evil consequences of Muslim sectarianism in our country and everywhere in a peaceful, sane, healthy, and rational way. We have to create Muslim communities that are equally open to everyone; Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Ebirra, Igala, Kanuri, Nupe, Bassa, Okun, Kaje, Kurama, Arago, Eggon, Tiv, Idoma, Ogori, Birom, White, Black, Latino, Arab, Pakistani, Indian, Asian, African, low income, high income, educated and undereducated e.t.c. This is the real legacy of the great Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This is the picture of non-sectarian Islam, and this is the conversation that we are bringing to the forefront. If this Sermon makes sense to you and you support combating sectarianism, extremism and racism in our Ummah, then assist us, support us, help us and make a donation to our Mosque and Islamic center, so that our Da’awah will move smoothly.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Know that the manifestations and implications of the approved way of life called Islam is extremely vast; where every major aspect of ones life from running educational institutions, to charity, to building orphanages, and Mosques, and hospitals, taking care of poor, needy and assisting the IDPs etc. have a role to perform and develop. There is absolutely no harm and no restriction if some Allah-fearing brothers and sisters wish to form an organization of like minded people focused in these and other noble causes for the development and endorsement of Muslims in particular and humanity in general. The building and operating of such noble and well-meaning organizations are absolutely encouraged in Islam and if done with the right intentions to help mankind and thus earn the Pleasure and Good Will of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, the people who initiate, develop, and operate such organizations will receive a huge reward from Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala on the Day of Resurrection.

The organizations, groups or sects that are specifically prohibited in Islam are the ones that break away from the Ummah of the Muslims and form their own set of religious principles and beliefs, and enlist followers who believe that only their particular chosen sect is on the Straight Path and every other believer is misguided or a disbeliever. These type of organizations, sects, and creeds which encourage and propagate moving away from the Muslim Ummah or moving away from the Muslim leaders, is what is absolutely prohibited in Islam.

Allah says in Chapter 45 Surah Al-Jathiyah verse 17:

“Then they differed amongst themselves after the knowledge (of Islam) had come to them, only because they wanted to wrong one another. Your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning the matters in which they have been differing.”

And Allah says in the Noble Qur’an Chapter 23 Surah Muminun verse 52-54:

“And you all belong to one and the same Ummah, and I (Allah) am your Lord; so fear Me Alone! Yet afterwards the people divided themselves into different sects, and each sect rejoicing in what it has. Well, leave them deeply involved in their heedlessness up to an appointed time.”

At-Tirmidhi in Hadith 171 Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr,
Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“There will befall my Ummah exactly (all those) evils which befell the people of Isra’il, so much so that even if there was one amongst them who openly committed fornication with his mother there will be among my Ummah one who will do that, and if the people of Isra’il were fragmented into seventy-two sects my Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell Fire except one sect. They (the Companions) said: O Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), which is that? Whereupon he (Peace be upon him) said: It is one to which I and my Companions belong.”

But if one wishes to form an organization of like minded brothers and sisters focused on furthering and nurturing a particular aspect of the needs of the believers, like education, charity, religious teachings, helping the poor and needy, taking care of IDPs problems etc.; without any intention whatsoever to break away from the Muslim Ummah, without the intention to cause any fitnah, but rather with their noble works they wish to unite the Ummah; there is absolutely no harm and no restrictions in Islam in forming such good organizations. These noble brothers and sisters who work as a group to further the Cause of Allah will have a huge reward in the Presence of their Majestic Lord on the Day of Resurrection.

– The Bad Effects Of Disunity In The Da’awah

Respected Servants of Allah! Unfortunately, we see nowadays many Muslim groups and sects working in Da’awah plagued with the diseases of enmity, hatred, division, disagreements, and discord, in total contrast to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. This problem of sectarianism, disunity and division is the greatest challenge Muslims have to deal with today, for them to live in peace and to progress.

Efforts of Da’awah would not be fruitful unless we forget their differences, make Da’awah the center of our interests, cooperate with each other, and coordinate our work.

Muslims should be cautious of those Da’awah groups or sects which claim to be the only representative of true Islam and attribute disbelief to others. In many cases such groups neglect their duties in Da’awah and focus in opposing and eliminating others.

– Evil Consequences Of Division

1. Shielding Allah’s mercy and support.

2. Lose of power and strength.

3. Failure to achieve our goals.

4. Division substitutes love with hatred, trust with suspicion, and peace with conflict.

5. Division dissipates our energy in empty arguments instead of benefiting ourselves and others.

6. Division distracts people away from Da’awah.

7. Division leads to disgrace here and in the Hereafter.

– Hold Fast Together And Let Nothing Divide You

The first step in handling this serious problem is to be aware of its dangers and bad results, because division and disunity weaken our Ummah and open the doors to our enemies. Qur’an warned against division and disputes:

“And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall not into disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart from you; and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient.” [Qur’an, 8:46]

We should realize that working toward unity of the Muslim groups is a collective duty upon all of us. We need to focus our efforts to purify ourselves and eliminate from our communities all those problems that cause division and disunity.

Muslim groups must work together to correct their faith, correct their aqidah, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), obey and respect their leaders, cooperate on good purposes in all fields. Then as a result of this, Allah (Exalted be He) will unite their hearts. Qur’an says:

“If you had spent all that is in the earth you could not have attuned their hearts, but Allah has attuned them.” [Qur’an, 8:63]

Here are some advises for those who are working in Da’awah to keep in the back of their minds:

1. Stick firm to the way of Allah and let nothing divide you, no matter how little it might seem.

2. Unity is one of the great blessings of Allah and disunity/divisions is a punishment from Allah.

3. Your unity must be your first priority.

4. Seek protection in your unity and work together under the spirit of one team.

5. Beware of those who want to divide you; do not give them a chance.

6. Your unity must be based on Islamic principles: faith, brotherhood, justice, and equality.

7. The purpose of your unity must be serving the interests of all people regardless of their colour, race and it must not be achieving some casual benefits for only a group of people.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Know that the efforts of Da’awah groups would not be fruitful unless they forget their differences, make Da’awah the center of their interests, cooperate with each other, and coordinate their work. They should not forget that they are working for the same aim and under the same banner. They must all hold fast together to the way of Allah, not for gaining followers of this group or that, or achieving worldly interests. Qur’an says:

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and let nothing divide you.” [Qur’an, 3:103]

However, working under the spirit of one team does not mean not to have any kind of disagreements and misunderstandings at all. The Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) were in complete harmony with each other and were sincere brothers and sisters, but in spite of this, they had disagreements concerning different matters of the branches of faith.

However, disagreements must be avoided, under all circumstances, if they are related to the fundamentals of the religion, work against the interests of Muslims, or may lead to disputes, conflict, and disunity among Muslims.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Sermon and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Ramadan 2nd, 1439 AH (May 18, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Ramadan Mubarak, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! As we begin the month of Ramadan, full of mercy, giving, gratitude and Sabr (patience), the images from Gaza in Palestine sear our minds and break our hearts. May Allah grant the Ummah more Sabr, and wisdom to world leaders, as well as people of faith.

My people! Ramadan is the month of empowerment, which begins when we train our hearts, souls, and bodies to commit to higher goals and resist the wrongs inside of us, along with those outside of us.

This Ramadan, let’s plan to follow three Prophetic success strategies of empowerment: Communication, care for humanity, and coalition-building.

Under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the early Muslims first trained themselves to resist wrong within themselves. From the worship of false gods to lying, stealing, insolence toward parents, arrogance, and other character ills, they fought an internal battle. And when it was time to take the struggle to the external, they were more than ready.

This Ramadan, let us resist our weaknesses. Be it extravagance, anger, or anything else. Whatever the fault, whatever we have always struggled with, no matter how long we have struggled with it, let us make a conscious effort to resist.

But let’s not stop there. We must help our family and friends do the same. Let us help them gain that Taqwa, Allah-consciousness, that Allah wants us to attain through fasting in Ramadan [Quran, 2:183]. Help them get up for Suhur; make an Iftar meal for a friend going through a rough time; give a mom of young kids a break so she can participate in Tarawih in peace. Attaining Taqwa is an internal battle – but it is a collective one as well.

– Ramadan Between Yesterday And Today

O you who believe, Ramadan is a sacred month wherein Almighty Allah is constantly testing His creation and giving humanity the opportunity to achieve infinite, endless Bliss. Fasting is a complete purification and a means to developing the consciousness of Allah’s presence. The consciousness of Allah (Taqwa) is a protection against the schemes of Shaitan (Satan), and the suffering of this world. Allah has informed us that:

“Whoever keeps his duty to Allah (has taqwa), He ordains a way out for him and gives him sustenance from where he imagines not. And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah attains His purpose. Allah has appointed a measure for everything.” [Qur’an, 65:2]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Many Muslims today have a misconception about fasting and the activities of a fasting person. They go into a state of semi-hibernation, spending most of their daylight hours in bed. If they fear Allah, they wake up for prayer, but then return to sleep immediately. This unnatural sleep makes them become lazy, dull-witted and often cranky.

Ramadan is actually a time of increased activity wherein the believer, now lightened of the burdens of constant eating and drinking, should be more willing to strive and struggle for Allah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed through approximately nine Ramadans after the Hijrah. They were filled with decisive events and left us a shining example of sacrifice and submission to Allah.

In the first year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) sent Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib with thirty Muslim riders to Saif al Bahr to investigate three hundred riders from Quraish who had camped suspiciously in that area. The Muslims were about to engage their enemies, but they were separated by Majdy Ibn Umar al-Juhany. The Hypocrites of Madinah, hoping to oppose the unity of the Muslims, built their own Masjid (called Masjid ad-Dirar). The Prophet (Peace be upon him) ordered this Masjid to be destroyed in Ramadan.

On the seventeenth of Ramadan, 3 AH, Almighty Allah separated truth from falsehood at the Great Battle of Badr. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) and 313 of his Companions set out to intercept a caravan of their own goods that had been left in Makkah. It was led by Abu Sufyan himself, and estimated at 50,000 dinars. They were met, instead, by a well-equipped army of the nobility of Quraish, intend on putting out the light of Islam. Despite being outnumbered three to one and appearing weak and unseasoned, the Muslims defended their faith with a burning desire to protect the Prophet and meet their Lord through martyrdom. Allah gave them a decisive victory on this day of Ramadan, that would never be forgotten.

In 6 AH, Zaid Ibn Haritha was sent to Wadi al-Qura at the head of a detachment to confront Fatimah bint Rabi’ah, the queen of that area. Fatimah had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid and had succeeded in plundering its wealth. She was known to be the most protected woman in Arabia, as she hung fifty swords of her close relatives in her home. Fatimah was equally renowned for showing open hostility to Islam. She was killed in a battle against these Muslims in the month of Ramadan.

By Ramadan of 8 AH, the treaty of Hudaibiyyah had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) felt the need to strike a fatal blow to disbelief in the Arabian Peninsula and conquer the city of Makkah. Allah has declared His Sanctuary a place of peace, security and religious sanctity. Now the time had come to purify the Ka’abah of nakedness and abomination. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) set out with an army having more armed men than al-Madinah had ever seen before. People were swelling the army’s ranks as it moved toward Makkah. The determination of the believers, guided by the Will of Allah, became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle, on 20 Ramadan. This was one of the most important dates in Islamic history for after it, Islam was firmly entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula. During the same month and year, after smashing the idols of Makkah, detachments were sent to the other major centers of polytheism and al-Lat, Manat and Suwa, some of the greatest idols of Arabia, were destroyed.

Such was the month of Ramadan in the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding the evil, and striving hard with one’s energy, time, life and wealth. After the death of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) Muslims carried on this tradition and Allah used the true believers to affect the course of history. Ramadan continued to be a time of great trials and crucial events.

Ninety-two years after the Hijrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderic of the Visigoths. Roderic had forced his six millions serfs and persecuted Jews to seek the aid of the Muslims of North Africa in order to be delivered. Musa Ibn Husair, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, responded by sending his courageous general Tariq Ibn Ziyad at the head of 12,000 Berber and Arab troops. In Ramadan of that year, they were confronted with a combined Visigoth army of 90,000 fighters led by Roderic himself, who was seated on a throne of ivory, silver, and precious gems and drawn by white mules. After burning his boats, Tariq preached to the Muslims warning them that victory and Paradise lay ahead of them and defeat and the sea lay to the rear. They burst forth with great enthusiasm and Allah manifested a clear victory over the forces of disbelief. Not only was Roderic killed and his forces completely annihilated, but also Tariq and Musa succeeded in liberating the whole of Spain, Sicily and parts of France. This was the beginning of the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.

In the year 582 AH, Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi, after battling with the Crusaders for years, finally drove them out of Syria and the whole of their occupied lands in the month of Ramadan. The Muslim world was then destined to meet one of its most frightening challenges.

In the seventh century AH, the Mongols were sweeping across Asia destroying everything that lay in their path. Genghis Khan called himself “the scourge of Allah sent to punish humanity for their sins.” In 617 AH, Samarkand, Ray and Hamdan were put to the sword causing more than 700,000 people to be killed or made captive. In 656 AH, Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, continued this destruction. Even Baghdad, the leading city of the Muslim world, was sacked. Some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 Muslims were killed in this awesome carnage. The Christians were asked to eat pork and drink wine openly while the surviving Muslims were forced to participate in drinking bouts. Wine was sprinkled in the Masjids and no Azan (call to prayer) was allowed. In the wake of such a horrible disaster and with the threat of the whole Muslim world and then Europe being subjected to the same fate, Allah raised up from the Mamluks of Egypt, Saifuddin Qutuz, who united the Muslim army and met the Mongols at Ain Jalut on 25th of Ramadan, 458 AH. Although they were under great pressure, the Muslims with the help of Allah, cunning strategy and unflinching bravery crushed the Mongol army and reversed this tidal wave of horror. The whole of the civilized world sighed in relief and stood in awe at the remarkable achievement of these noble sons of Islam.

This was the spirit of Ramadan that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer while calling upon Allah for His mercy and forgiveness.

Today, the Muslim world is faced with drought, military aggression, widespread corruption and tempting materialism. Surely we are in need of believers who can walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him), the illustrious Sahabah, Tariq Ibn Ziyad, Qutuz, Salahuddin and the countless heroes of Islam. Surely we are in need of believers who are unafraid of the threats of the mischief makers, yet kind and humble to the believing people; Muslims whose fast is complete and not just a source of hunger and thirst.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

May Allah raise up a generation of Muslims who can carry Islam to all corners of the globe in a manner that befits our age, and may He the Almighty give us the strength and the success to lay the proper foundations for them.

May Allah make us of those who carry out our Islam during Ramadan and after it, and may He the Most High not make us of those who say what they do not do – Ameen Ya Rabb!!!

May Allah bless this Ramadan for all of us, our families, and Muslims the world over. May it be a time of healing, comfort, reflection, and renewed faith and strength. Ameen.

Wassalamu Alaikum

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: O Muslims, Ramadan Has Come To You, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Nourisher (Rabb) of the entire universe; the felicity of the hereafter is for those who fear Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He is without partner, the object of worship of all the fore-runners and those gone-by. He maintains and administers the heavens and  earth.

I further bear testimony to the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Messenger, His beloved and the custodian of His Revelation. Almighty Allah had sent him as the Messenger of good tidings and warner to all of humanity. He has been sent as the caller towards Allah, a shining and bright lamp shedding light. Allah’s blessings be upon His Messenger (Peace be upon him), his progeny, his Companions, who followed him in his mission of inviting the people towards Allah, remained steadfast therein, and offered sacrifices for the same, till Allah, the Almighty gave supremacy to His religion through them and gave eminence to His Kalimah – in spite of the disliking of the polytheists. Countless salutations – Peace and blessings be upon the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).

As for what follows, then:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! I advise you and myself to fear Allah during this blessed month as well as in any other month. However, this month has a special merit by which Allah has distinguished it, since it is a unique occasion for performing good deeds. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would supplicate to Allah to allow him to be able to reach Ramadan. So when the month of Rajab would come in, he (Peace be upon him) would say:

“O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’aban and allow us to reach Ramadan.” [Reported by Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’b al-Iman, Bazzar in his Musnad, Abu Nu’aim in al-Hilya and Ibn Asakir in Kanz al-‘Amal, declared weak by Imam Albani in Ad-Da’ifah]

It has been narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would also give his Companions the glad tidings of its arrival and explain to them its many virtues, saying to them:

“O people! A great and blessed month has come upon you.” [Reported by Imam Ahmad in Musnad]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would encourage his Companions to strive hard in performing good deeds during this month, both the obligatory and recommended ones, such as prayer, charity, sadaqa, showing goodness and kindness, being patient while obeying Allah, spending one’s day with fasting, one’s night with praying and one’s hours with recitation of the Qur’an and remembering Allah.

So do not waste time by being heedless and refusing, as is the case with the wretched ones who have forgotten Allah and so He has caused them to forget themselves. Such people do not extract benefit from the passing of occasions for doing good, nor do they realize their sanctity or know their worth.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Many people don’t know this month except as a month for various types of foods and beverages. So they go to great extents in giving their souls what they desire. And they exceed in buying fancy types of foods and drinks. It is well known that the intake of too much food and drink causes one to be lazy with acts of worship. What is required for the Muslim is that he decrease in his intake of food and drink such that he is energetic when it comes to acts of Ibadah (worship).

Some people don’t know the month of Ramadan except as a month in which one sleeps during the day and stays up all night doing things that have no benefit or things that cause harm. So these people stay awake most of the night or all of it then sleep in the daytime even over the times of the obligatory prayers. So they don’t pray with the congregation or in the prescribed times of prayer.

Another group of people sit at the dinner table when it’s time to break fast and abandon performing the Maghrib prayer in congregation. These types of people do not know the value of the month of Ramadan nor do they refrain from violating its sanctity by committing the forbidden type of sleeplessness (i.e. all night), abandoning the obligations and doing the prohibited.

Next to these people are those individuals who don’t view the month of Ramadan except as an opportunity for doing business, displaying their products and chasing after the worldly life, which is temporary. So they are active in buying and selling, thus spending all their time in the marketplaces and abandoning the Masaajid (Mosques). And if they do go to the Masaajid, then they are in haste and anguish. They do not relax while in the Masaajid since their joy and comfort lies in the market areas.

And there is another type of people that do not know the month of Ramadan except as a time for begging in the Masaajid (Mosques), in the houses of big men, in the houses of politicians and their offices, and in the streets. So they spend most of their time going back and forth from here and there and traveling from one city to another, from one country to another in order to collect money through begging and by presenting themselves as being needy when they are in fact wealthy, and as injured when they are in fact healthy! Such people are denying Allah’s blessing on them and taking the people’s wealth unjustly. And they are wasting their precious time in things that are harmful to them. So there are no special merits that can be found in Ramadan for these types of people.

O Dear Servants of Allah! The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would strive hard during this month more than he would in any other month. Even though the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was strong in performing worship at all times, he would free himself up during this month from many of the duties, which in reality were acts of worship, leaving off these righteous deeds for deeds that were better than those.

The Salaf as-Salih (Pious predecessors) would follow his example in this regard and so they would particularize this month with higher ambitions, thus keeping themselves unoccupied in it so that they could perform good deeds. They would spend their night in Tahajjud prayer and their day in fasting, remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Qur’an, thus frequenting the Masaajid for that purpose. So we should compare our conditions to their conditions and see what the extent of our abilities is in this month.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! We should know that just as the good deeds are multiplied during this month, then likewise, evil acts are worse and their punishment is greater. So we should fear Allah and magnify the sanctity of this month.

Allah the Almighty said:

“And whoever magnifies the sacred things of Allah, this is better for him in the sight of his Lord.” [Surah Al-Hajj, 22:30]

My Respected people! Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Ramadan has come to you – a blessed month. Allah has made it obligatory on you to fast in it. During this month, the gates of heaven are open, the gates of the Hellfire are closed and the evil devils are chained. To Allah belongs a night in it, which is better than a thousand months. Whosoever is prevented from its good, then he has been deprived.” [Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i. See Ahmad Shakir’s checking of the Musnad and Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib of Shaykh al-Albani as well as Tamamul Minnah]

Dear Servants of Allah! In this Hadith is a glad tiding to the righteous servants of Allah, of the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) informed his Companions of its coming and it was not just a simple relaying of news. Rather, his intent was to give them the glad tidings of a magnificent time of the year, so that the righteous people who are quick to do deeds can give it its due estimate. This is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) explained in it (the Hadith) what Allah has prepared for His servants from the ways towards gaining forgiveness and His contentment – and they are many. So whoever has forgiveness escape him during the month of Ramadan, then he has been deprived with the utmost deprivation.

Imam Ibn Rajab said:

“From the great favours and bounties that Allah has bestowed upon His servants is that He has prepared for them meritous occasions so that they may be of profit to those who obey Him and a race for those who rush to compete (for good deeds). These meritous occasions are times for fulfilling hopes by exerting in obedience and uplifting flaws and deficiencies through self-rectification and repentance. There is not a single occasion from these virtuous times, except that Allah has assigned in it works of obedience, by which one may draw close to Him. And Allah possesses the most beautiful things as gifts, which He bestows upon whomsoever He wills by His Grace and Mercy. So the one who achieves true happiness is he who takes advantage of these virtuous months, days and hours and draws closer to His Guardian in them, by doing what is prescribed in them from acts of Ibadah (worship). Thus perhaps he will be showered with one of the many blessings of those occasions and be helped by it, with an assistance that is enough to save him from the Fire and what it contains, such as its blazing heat.” [See Lata’iful Ma’arif of Imam Ibn Rajab, page 8]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Being able to reach Ramadan is itself a magnificent bounty that is bestowed on the one who reaches it and rises to its occasion, by standing in prayer during its night and fasting during its day. In it, he returns to his Protector — from disobeying Him to obeying Him, from neglecting Him to remembering Him, from remaining distant from Him to turning towards Him in submissive repentance.

A Muslim must be conscious of this bounty and acknowledge its magnitude. For indeed, many people are prevented from fasting, either because they die before they reach it, or because they are not capable of observing it or because they oppose and turn away from it. Thus, the one who fasts must give praise to his Lord for this bounty and should welcome this month with joy and delight that a magnificent time of the year out of all the occasions for performing obedience is welcomed. He should exert himself deeply in doing good deeds. And he should invoke Allah to grant him the ability to fast and stand in night prayer, and that He provide him with seriousness, enthusiasm, strength, and energy in that month. And that He awaken him from heedless oversleeping so that he may take advantage of these virtuous times of goodness.

My beloved people! It is unfortunate to find that many people do not know the value of this virtuous occasion, nor do they consider it to be sacred. So the month of Ramadan no longer becomes a significant time for obedience, worship, reciting the Qur’an, giving in charity and making remembrance of Allah. Rather, to some people, it becomes a significant time to diversify their foods and drinks and to prepare different types of meals before the month begins. Some other people do not know Ramadan except as a month of sleeplessness and constant recurring gatherings, while sleeping by day. This is to the point that some among them sleep past the time of the obligatory prayers, thus not praying them in congregation or in their proper times. Other people do not know Ramadan except as a significant time for conducting worldly affairs, not as a significant time for conducting affairs for the Hereafter. Thus, they work busily in it, buying and selling, and they stay in the market areas, consequently abandoning the Masaajid. And when they do pray with the people, they do so in such a hurried manner. This is because they find their pleasure in the market places. This is the extent that the notions and views (of Ramadan) have been changed.

Some of the Salaf as-Salih (Pious predecessors) used to say:

“Indeed Allah, the Most High, has made the month of Ramadan as a time of competition for His creatures, in which they may race with one another to His pleasure, by obeying Him. Thus, one group comes first and so they prosper and another group comes last and so they fail.” [See Lata’iful Ma’arif of Imam Ibn Rajab, page 246]

Also, the person does not know if this is perhaps the last Ramadan he will ever see in his life, if he completes it. How many men, women and children have fasted with us the past year, and yet now they lie buried in the depths of the earth, relying on their good deeds. And they expected to fast many more Ramadans. Likewise, we too shall all follow their path. Therefore, it is upon the Muslim to rejoice at this magnificent occasion for worship. And he should not renounce it, but instead busy himself with what will benefit him and what will cause its effect to remain. For what else is it, except numbered days, which are fasted in succession and which finish rapidly.

Oh Allah, make Taqwa (piety) for us our most profitable characteristic. And do not make us from those people who are neglectful and lost. And secure our fear on the Day of the arrival of the Hour. And forgive us and our parents and all the Muslims, ameen.

* Shedding Tears Of Sorrow In Ramadan

Dear Servants of Allah! I shed a tear of sorrow in Ramadan on those who don’t consider the sacredness of the month, and its virtues and merits, not only they meet it – as the other months – by sins and violations, but also they became farer from Allah – the Almighty – also they invented different types of sins and abominations, to deprive themselves and others from the heavy rain of rewards, they make the preparations to fight the Creature of the heavens and earth (Allah).

A tear in Ramadan on those who waste the obligated prayers, as they sleep at the time of prayers at some time, delay it other time, and leave it sometime.

A tear in Ramadan on those who disgrace Fasting sacredness, by their obscenity and bad morals, as they insult, curse, steal, backbite, and lie on people. And if you advised someone he argues that this is because of the Fasting!! As if Fasting is the reason behind these disadvantages, and they are unaware about the opinion of Fasting, its benefits, and its great rewards, and the most important benefits are:

– Devotion towards Allah occurs. As Allah says:

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [Al Baqarah, 2:183]

So does the devotion to Allah call for insulting, cursing, injustice and aggression of which we are used to even in the sacred month of Ramadan and in a sacred state of fasting? For that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever doesn’t give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting).” [Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari]

So may Allah have mercy on you to know the reality of Fasting.

A tear in Ramadan on the women, who go out to pray Al-Tarawih/Tahajjud prayer while they are adorned, incensed, scented, showily, and wearing their most beautiful dresses, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Don’t prevent the female servants of Allah from visiting the Mosques of Allah, but they may go out (to the Mosque) having not perfumed themselves.” [Narrated by Abu Dawud and Al-Albani said the Hadith is Hasan Sahih]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever (woman) fumigated herself with perfume shouldn’t join us in the Isha prayer.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim]

A tear in Ramadan on those who waste the month on watching the useless channels of satellite TV, and no satellite TV which spread debauchery, nakedness, and buffoonery, and their madness, debauchery and buffoonery increase in that precious month to fight the virtues and violate the nation’s constants and sanctities.

In our busy lives, we often forget to remember our Creator (Allah). As Muslims, we should try and incorporate Zikr in our daily lives, especially with Ramadan coming up in around one weeks’ time. Even if you take a couple of minutes out of your daily schedule to read the Qur’an and remember Allah the Almighty, they won’t go unrewarded. During those 5-10 minutes forget everything and focus on the blessings you have been provided by Him. You will feel relaxed and it will help rid you of the daily stresses of life.

* The Does And Doesn’t Of Fasting

– The Obligation

Dear Servants of Allah! Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah’s commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah’s mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for Allah, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Denial of the obligatory nature of fasting in the month of Ramadan amounts to disbelief (kufr).

One who avoids fasting without genuine reasons is a sinner and transgressor according to Islamic law.

– Time: When To Fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings – food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

– Who Is Exempted From Fasting

1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion.

2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them.

3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.

4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day.

5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Qur’an says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships.

6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day.

7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

– Niyyah Or Intention Of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows, but should be said in your heart:

“I intend to observe fast for today.”

– Suhur

Suhur is a light, predawn meal, recommended before actually fasting. It is a blessing and hence recommended but not essential.
Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.

– Iftar

Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. Iftar is a light snack consisting of dates or desserts, along with liquids, such as water, juice or milk.

This is eaten after making the Du’a (supplication) for breaking the fast.

– What Breaks The Fast

1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.

2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.

3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).

The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require “Qadah” (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires “Qadah” but also additional penalty.

– What Does Not Break The Fast

1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.

2. Unintentional vomiting.

3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one’s own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.

4. Brushing the teeth.

5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.

6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.

7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.

– Kaffarah

During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, she/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

– Breaking Of The Fast Under Exceptional Conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.

In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha.

– Tarawih

These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha’ prayers.

– Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Qur’an).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Qur’an 97:3).

This was the night when Qur’an was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Qur’an.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is All-forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 24, 1439 AH (May 11, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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A Short Nasiha From My Heart To Your Heart, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant, and His Messenger.

“O You who believe, – Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.”

“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! Our worldwide family of Islam, the Muslim Ummah, is almost two billion strong. How many of us speak Arabic as our mother tongue? Do you know? Can you guess? The answer is less than 20%. To be precise, it’s 18%. That means that the vast majority of Muslims, 82% including you and me, are non-Arabic speakers. We must make a special effort to understand what we read in the Qur’an and what we recite in Salah (Prayer), Du’ah and Zikr.

Brothers and Sisters, I hope no one will take offence, and I mean no disrespect to anyone. But I have to say that too many of us do not appreciate the importance of understanding the meaning of our Salah, our Du’ah and Zikr. We’re quite satisfied to recite without knowing the meaning, without caring to learn the translations. I’m sure Allah the Almighty enjoys listening to us reciting His Noble Words with such tremendous passion, with meticulous pronunciation of every haraf in [tajwid]. But, how much more will Allah the Most High not appreciate our efforts, if we actually knew what we are saying?

Imagine, we are speaking to Allah in the most elegant language of the Qur’an, our lips are moving and creating the most beautiful sounds, but our thoughts and our feelings are disconnected because we don’t really feel the full impact of what we are saying. We don’t really understand. And sadly, many of us make no real effort to understand. We should all make an effort to learn Arabic. And if we find that too difficult, we should at least memorise a few short Suras (Chapters) in our own language.

If only we could think about the meanings when we recite the Arabic, then we could put meaning and feeling into those beautiful and soul-stirring words. If we did this regularly and systematically, then the true power and influence of Allah’s sacred words will touch our hearts. And when this happens, it will change us, it will transform us from what we are to what Allah wants us to become.

Brothers and Sisters! If we can allow Allah’s words to polish our hearts and improve our actions, then I guarantee you, Allah will enable us to put right many of the problems we see around us in our community and in our wider society. It must begin within ourselves, as Allah will not change our condition until we change what is within ourselves. Let us make a start, by learning the meaning and reciting with feeling, passionate feeling, our Salah, Du’ah and Zikr.

I must admit, I was a big man in my first ten years when I first understood the meaning of the words that we say several times a day when we pray: When I realised the meaning of those words, I thought, Wow! That’s heavy stuff! I never knew that I was taking on such a huge responsibility every time I made my Salah! I was actually promising and reaffirming that all my prayers, my sacrifice, my life and my death belong to Allah!

These words cannot be taken lightly. It’s a complete, lifelong commitment and it affects everything we say and do. And you know, the more we think of the meaning, the more our Salah our Du’ah and Zikr will change our lives for the better. Imagine if we really understood every Du’ah and every Zikr and we reflected deeply on the meanings. This understanding will generate a complete transformation in the way we think and feel about ourselves and our responsibilities to others.

True faith, true Iman, does not enter someone’s heart without improving it, without beautifying it. So, if we want our lives to be improved, to be beautified, then we can begin by learning the meanings of all that we recite in Arabic with so much skill and elegance.

If you want proof of this power of Allah’s words to transform human beings from half savages to leaders of great civilisations, then look to the history of every people before their contact with Islam, and afterwards. This is what happened to the Sahaba so many years ago, and to all the true and sincere Awliyah-Allah, the Friends of Allah, throughout the ages. They understood every word of their Salah, Du’ah and Zikr, so that they could put meaning and feeling into their worship. They could be absolutely sincere to Allah the Almighty. Unless we know what we’re saying, feeling and doing, our efforts will lack complete sincerity.

So, for those of us who do not speak Arabic, let us make a sincere effort to memorise the meanings of our Salah, Du’ah and Zikr. Let us think and reflect on these meanings so that our hearts can be moved and our behaviour improved. This will bring us closer to Allah the Most High. Thinking, reflecting and contemplating the words of Allah is highly recommended in the Noble Qur’an. Those who do so are referred to as “yatafak-karun” or, people of understanding.

These inspiring and soul-stirring words come from the last verses of Surah Ali Imran as follows:

“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): Our Lord! not in vain have You created (all) this! Glory to You! give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.”

Brothers and Sisters! In Islam people who think and reflect are highly valued above those who simply follow without thinking, without reflection and therefore without insight into the deeper meanings of life. Please read Malik Badri’s book, “Contemplation is worth much more than 30 nights of prayer….”

Brothers and Sisters! let us through a deeper understanding of our faith become those whom Allah calls, yatafak-karun, ‘people who contemplate,’ people who reflect, people who understand.

I ask Allah to give us all some of his divine wisdom, hikma, so that we have a light to illuminate our way through the confusion in the world out there. May Allah help us and all our future generations to know and love the beautiful Way of Islam. May we all hold fast to the rope that Allah extends for us. May we all set a good example for others, a justly balanced community, ummatan wasatan, and a witness to the nations.

Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For You are the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

O my Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! As Ramadan approaches, we all must take stock of ourselves. It’s a good time to make sure that our body, mind, heart and soul are in good health. Ramadan is a much needed time for training our body, mind, heart and soul. Please allow me to remind myself first, then all of you: Be aware of your inward state. Whatever we do here and now has consequences elsewhere, and perhaps, forever! We perceive the world around us through our five senses, but our senses are limited. Even through a whole lifetime we only experience a very small segment of reality. Even then, that reality, or rather, our perception of reality is coloured by our own prejudices, our limited knowledge and experience. But beyond the threshold of our senses is the realm of the Ghaib or the Unseen. This realm is far more complex than we can possibly imagine.

For example, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that whenever people are studying, seeking knowledge for Allah’s sake, then Allah’s angels are there, surrounding them with their wings. You and I cannot see the angels but they are certainly there, protecting us right now. In the same way, we cannot see the devils, the jinn, the subtle beings that try to mislead us from the Straight Path, the Siratal Mustaqim. But they are there, nonetheless, waiting in ambush to entrap us!

We sometimes act under the influence of these dark forces, without even being aware of it. That’s why an entire chapter (Surah), Al-Nas, is devoted to our seeking Allah’s protection from Shaitan, the Evil Whisperer who whispers evil inclinations into our hearts. That’s why, many times each day, we take refuge in Allah from Shaitan, the Cursed One:

“A’uzu bil-Lahi minash shaitanir rajim!”

We are taught to say this even before we say:

“Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!” In the Name of Allah, The All Merciful, the All Compassionate.”

Ayatul kursiy, The Verse of the Throne, reminds us that no human being will gain any knowledge except what Allah has allowed. Allah has gifted some of His beloved servants with knowledge of the Unseen. For example, Surah Al-Kahf we read about Sayyidina Khidr who had a deep inner sight, the gift of Divine Wisdom. Allah gave him special knowledge of the Unseen, the realm of the Ghaib.

Prophet Musa (Moses), had much to learn from him. How can we protect ourselves from all these hidden dangers and dark forces that lay in wait for the unwary? How can we ensure a safe journey through this life so that we reach the goal of Allah’s Ridwan, Allah’s good pleasure, in the next life? The answer is quite simple. You and I have to do our regular good housekeeping. We must vacuum, scrub and polish our spiritual heart, the qalb. We must constantly remove the rust and debris that’s built up over the years: all the anger, the hate, jealousy, greed and vanity that pollute the innermost recesses of our spiritual hearts. We must ensure that the Fu’ad, the kernel, the inner core of the spiritual heart, is pure and pristine as it was the day we were born. This job is never done. It’s a lifelong struggle. When we start to wage this jihadun nafs, the war against the Lower Self, then Allah will illuminate our hearts with wisdom, with love, with generosity with inner peace and contentment. This is how we can cultivate the ‘pure, sound heart,’ the Qalb salim that will open the door to Allah’s Garden, Al-Jannah Firdaws. That’s were we all want to be, forever…

As the Noble Qur’an reminds us in Surah 26:89 (Al-Shu’arah, The Poets):

“None shall enter the Garden except those with a sound heart.”

My Dear Brothers and Sisters! I pray that Allah will help you and me, and all our loved ones, to reach the end of our lives with a pure, sound heart. I pray that we will constantly be ready to leave this world and ready to enter the next world with full confidence and trust in Allah. Only when we are ready for our departure, then we qualify for a safe arrival!

No matter how stressful life may be, no matter how messy and confusing the world out there might be, we know that everything is in Allah’s good hands: “Biyadikal khayr.” “In His Hand is all good.” We know that Allah allows people to think they are in control. But that’s a delusion. Allah allows us all a little bit of control over our lives, and over the affairs of other people that Allah has entrusted to our care. But ultimately, Allah alone is always in full control of every part of His entire creation, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the greatest cluster of galaxies and supernovae. “Wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadir!” says the Quran in so many places… “And Allah has power over all things.”

Sometimes people forget that. But true believers never forget The One Who has ultimate power and control. We can take real comfort from that faith, that reassurance that the ups and downs of life are only tests of patience and gratitude from our generous Life-Giver.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother,

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Why You Should Start Fasting, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Qur’an, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Qur’an, 4:1]

“O you who believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Qur’an, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, the month of Qur’an, the month of blessing and mercy, is quickly approaching for Muslims, due to start around Wednesday, 16th May 2018 or Thursday, 17th May 2018, and will last 29 or 30 days. I say ‘around’ for the date and duration, because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and the beginning of each month is determined by when the new moon is seen.

This means that Muslims around the world await with great anticipation the announcement from their leaders that the new moon – known as the ‘hilal’ in Arabic – has been sighted. The excitement is greatest ahead of the crescent which will herald the first of Ramadan, topped only by the new moon which marks Eid-ul- Fitr, the celebration that takes place on the first day of the month after Ramadan (i.e. Shawwal), and marks the end of the month of fasting.

No wonder then that the crescent is a symbol of such potency among the Muslim Ummah. At its most fundamental level it determines the Islamic calendar which runs side by side with the solar calendar and so gives rhythm to the lives of Muslims.

Sighting the moon is a communal enterprise, and many Muslims especially in warmer climes will venture into the open as darkness begins to fall to see if they can spot the sliver in the sky that everyone is waiting for. When it marks the beginning of Ramadan it resonates with community and togetherness.

Fasts begin at dawn and last till dusk, and so the moon set in the backdrop of darkness represents the time available for eating and night prayers.

And of course, the new moon appearing at the end of Ramadan marks the close of an intensely spiritual and community-focused month of daytime restraint, ushering in the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking fast.

Ramadan is a tough month physically and so the proclamation of the end of fasting mingles a sense of sadness that Ramadan has gone, with a natural excitement that daytime consumption is once again possible.

Eid is seen as a time of beginnings, and so the crescent moon carries with it the innocent pleasure of a fresh start.

The crescent moon is also the key symbol for Muslims: used in flags, cards and messaging. It is a favourite among marketers as it can act as shorthand for describing something ‘Islamic.’ The challenge for marketers is to avoid slipping from the status of shorthand, into being the lazy overuse of a powerful symbol that therefore becomes cliched and diluted in meaning.

For Muslims, the crescent brings with it a mix of excitement, nervousness and community togetherness, tying the emotional and functional parts of faith together. And when it comes to the arrival of the month of Ramadan, Muslims will be waiting for news as to the first sighting of the magical sliver in the sky.

Dear Servants of Allah! Know that, FASTING is not unique to the Muslims. It has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucianists, Hindus, Taoists, and Jains. Allah the Almighty mentions this fact in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop Allah-consciousness.” [Qur’an, 2:183]

I also learn that some Native American societies observed fast to avert catastrophe or to serve as penance for sin. Native North Americans held tribal fasts to avert threatening disasters. The Native Americans of Mexico and the Incas of Peru observed penitential fasts to appease their deities. Past nations of the Old World, such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians, observed fasting as a form of penance. Jews observe fast as a form of penitence and purification annually on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On this day neither food nor drink is permitted.

Early Christians associated fasting with penitence and purification. During the first two centuries of its existence, the Christian church established fasting as a voluntary preparation for receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism and for the ordination of priests. Later, these fasts were made obligatory, as other days were subsequently added. In the 6th century, the Lenten fast was expanded to 40 days, on each of which only one meal was permitted. After the Reformation, fasting was retained by most Protestant churches and was made optional in some cases. Stricter Protestants, however, condemned not only the festivals of the church, but its traditional fasts as well.

In the Roman Catholic Church, fasting may involve partial abstinence from food and drink or total abstinence. The Roman Catholic days of fasting are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the United States, fasting is observed mostly by Episcopalians and Lutherans among Protestants, by Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and by Roman Catholics.

My respected people! Today, fasting took another form in the West: The hunger strike, a form of fasting, which in modern times has become a political weapon after being popularized by Mohandas Gandhi, leader of the struggle for India’s freedom, who undertook fasts to compel his followers to obey his precept of nonviolence.

With all what I have mentioned above, Islam is the only religion that has retained the outward and spiritual dimensions of fasting throughout centuries. Selfish motives and desires of the base self alienate a man from his Creator. The most unruly human emotions are pride, avarice, gluttony, lust, envy, stinginess, and anger. These emotions by their nature are not easy to control, thus a person must strive hard to discipline them. Muslims fast to purify their soul, it puts a bridle on the most uncontrolled, savage human emotions. People have gone to two extremes with regard to them. Some let these emotions steer their life which lead to barbarism among the ancients, and crass materialism of consumer cultures in modern times. Others tried to deprive themselves completely of these human traits, which in turn led to monasticism.

The fourth Pillar of Islam, the Fast of Ramadan, occurs once each year during the 9th lunar month, the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which:

“…the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for the people.” [Qur’an, 2:185]

Allah in His infinite mercy has exempt the ill, travelers, and others who are unable from fasting during Ramadan.

Fasting helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of Allah’s gifts and greater compassion toward the deprived. Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all bodily pleasures between dawn and sunset. Not only is food forbidden, but also any sexual activity. All things which are regarded as prohibited is even more so in this month, due to its sacredness. Each and every moment during the fast, a person suppresses their passions and desires in loving obedience to Allah. This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience helps in strengthening our faith. Fasting helps a person gain self-control. A person who abstains from permissible things like food and drink is likely to feel conscious of his sins. A heightened sense of spirituality helps break the habits of lying, staring with lust at the opposite sex, gossiping, backbiting and wasting time. Staying hungry and thirsty for just a day’s portion makes one feel the misery of the millions who go hungry or those who are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. After all, why would anyone care about starvation if one has never felt its pangs oneself? One can see why Ramadan is also a month of charity and giving not a month of stinginess and miserliness.

At dusk, the fast is broken with a light meal popularly referred to as IFTAR. Families and friends share a special late evening meal together, often including special foods and sweets served only at this time of the year. Many go to the Mosque for the evening prayer, followed by special prayers recited only during Ramadan. Some will recite the entire Qur’an as a special act of piety, and public recitations of the Qur’an can be heard throughout the evening. Families rise before dawn to take their first meal of the day, which sustains them until sunset. Near the end of Ramadan Muslims commemorate the “Night of Power” when the Qur’an was revealed. The month of Ramadan ends with one of the two major Islamic celebrations, the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims joyfully celebrate the completion of Ramadan and customarily distribute gifts to children. Muslims are also obliged to help the poor join in the spirit of relaxation and enjoyment by distributing Zakatul-fitr, a special and obligatory act of charity in the form of staple foodstuff, in order that all may enjoy the general euphoria of the day.

* How To Determine The Beginning And End Of Ramadan

Beloved Servants of Allah! Precisely determining the beginning and end of Ramadan is very important because it indicates when to start and stop fasting. Therefore, it is an obligation on the Muslim community to ensure that this is determined accurately and publicized sufficiently.

* How The Islamic Lunar Calendar Works

The Islamic lunar calendar consists of twelve months, with Ramadan being the ninth month. Each month lasts twenty-nine or thirty days. Six months will be twenty-nine days and another six will be thirty days, thus making 354 days per lunar year. Technically, the lunar year consists of 354.37 days while the mean time between new moons is 29.53 days.

The way this was calculated during the time of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was that people would look at the sky at the beginning of every lunar month. If the new crescent was sighted, it would mean the next month has begun and the previous one has ended. The crescent is the sunlit portion of the moon as seen from Earth and varies according to the changing positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.

* How Ramadan Was Determined In The Prophet’s Lifetime

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Since each month could only consist of twenty-nine or thirty days, Muslims would go outside on the twenty-ninth day of Sha’aban (which is the 8 month in the Islamic calendar) after sunset to look for the new crescent in the sky. If the new moon crescent was seen by people sometime during the night, it would mean that the month of Sha’aban was twenty-nine days and now the month of Ramadan has entered. However, if it is not visible it means that the month of Sha’aban consists of thirty days and Ramadan will begin the following day.

The end of the month is determined in the same way by establishing that the new moon crescent is visible on the twenty-ninth of Ramadan after sunset. If it is then Ramadan will consist of only twenty-nine days and the following day is the month of Shawwal, which is Eid. However, if it is not visible it means that the month of Ramadan consists of thirty days and the month of Shawwal will begin the following day.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) instructed his Companions to follow this method when he said:

“Start fasting when you see it (i.e. the crescent) and stop fasting (i.e. Ramadan is over) when you see it. If the sky is cloudy (and you can’t see the crescent on the 29) then consider Sha’aban as thirty days.” [Al-Bukhari]

It should be clear from this that months in the Islamic calendar were not known in advance whether they would consist of twenty-nine or thirty days.

* The Desire For Predetermined Months

As communications in the Muslim community became more complex, there was a need to have predetermined months for scheduling purposes. It would be very inconvenient for people in the same region to be using different calendars. Since the visibility of the crescent was not predictable in advance, another method would have to be used.

One such method was the new moon conjunction, which, in astronomical terms, is when the moon is precisely between the Earth and Sun. During conjunction (which is also known as moon-birth) the moon is not visible from Earth because the sunlit portion of the moon is facing away from the Earth.

New moon conjunction is precisely predictable and can be calculated exactly. The crescent moon only becomes visible from Earth about a day or two after the new moon conjunction because even when the three celestial bodies are not in a straight line, the moon is still too close to the sun’s glare to be seen with the naked eye from Earth. It is important to understand that the moon is ‘born’ about one or two days before it is actually visible, so moon-birth and
moon-visibility are two entirely different things.

Another method which was adopted in 1420 AH/1999 CE by the Ummul Qura calendar in Saudi Arabia was that if moonset occurs after sunset in Makkah on the 29 day of any month, then the month is over. This calculation is also precisely deterministic and took into consideration a time that is closer to the visibility of the moon than conjunction.

Also The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) have adopted a similar approach where the presence of the moon above the horizon at sunset anywhere on the globe is the criteria. This is precisely determined when the elongation of the moon is at least eight degrees and it is at least five degrees above the horizon.

* Which Calendar Should Determine Ramadan

As can be seen, even predetermined calendars which are calculated according to precise measurements require some specific methodology, such as conjunction, moonset-after-sunset, or some other precise measurements. The differing methodologies will result in different calculated calendars.

The question arose among some Muslim scholars: should Ramadan, and other religious days of fasting/celebration such as the 10 of Muharram (Ashura) and the 10 of Dhul Hijjah (Eid-Al-Adha), be determined through actual crescent sightings or a predetermined calendar?

Several Islamic scholars argued that dates which have a religious significance should be determined through actual crescent sightings, the way the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did, and the calculated calendar can be used for civil purposes. Other scholars posited that a calculated calendar should be used for both civil and religious dates, the same way that it is used by most urban Muslims throughout the world for their prayer times, without having to actually check the light in the horizon for Fajr or the shadow-length for Asr.

* What Variables Result In Differing Opinions On The Issue

For example, in the year 1939, Egypt announced Eid-Al-Adha to be on Monday, Saudi Arabia announced it for Tuesday, and India determined it to be on Wednesday. This is common almost every year. How could there be three different dates?

There are several variables which result in different conclusions about when the lunar month should begin and end. Understanding these differences will help a person understand why the issue is not as simplistic as it seems.

Global Sighting vs Local Sighting: If one region in the world sees the crescent but the other does not, should they adopt the same date or a different date? Muslim scholars have disagreed over this issue because it was not directly addressed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In the past, one city like Makkah may sight the crescent but the Muslims in Damascus do not. News about the sighting would take a long time to travel, and the people of Damascus would have already skipped the first day of fasting, assuming that Ramadan had not begun yet. Therefore, in the past, some Muslim communities would begin and end Ramadan on different days. With the advent of modern communications, it seems that this issue has been resolved because one region can instantaneously send a message to another region about purported sightings. Nonetheless, it remains a variable which influences the date of Ramadan.

Rejection of Witnesses: If a person reports that they saw the new crescent, but no one else did, should that person’s testimony be accepted? Does there need to be more than one witness? What if the person is known to be dishonest or has a bad memory? What if they claimed to see the moon but it was almost impossible for them to actually see it? To what extent should their report be scrutinized? These questions, and others, concerning the testimony of witnesses results in different conclusions. One group may accept the testimony of a witness and declare the start of Ramadan, while another may reject it.

Usage of Technology: Should high powered telescopes or other technology be used to sight the new crescent, even if it cannot be seen with the naked eye? If so, how many of them should be deployed in each region of the world to ensure a proper sighting? Usage of such technology would potentially ensure an earlier start date, but would also be very costly and difficult to implement.

Potential Visibility or Actual Sighting: If it is known that the crescent is visible in a particular area, but no one actually goes out to sight it, for whatever reason, should it be taken into consideration? If high-tech internet-enabled telescopes were set up in different parts of the world and Muslims had the ability to stream the video from those devices, would this count as a sighting?

Accuracy of Visibility Calculations: Astronomers have developed maps to predict when and where the crescent is likely to be viewable on any given date. However, there is more than one way of determining this. How accurate are these calculations? Should we use these approximations to discredit witnesses who claimed they saw the crescent even though it was difficult or almost impossible to do so?

These are some of the variables encountered when attempting to determine the beginning of a month in the lunar calendar and should help explain why people arrive at different conclusions.

* How To Achieve Unity In Ramadan

It may sound ideal to try to unite the entire world upon one date, but given the host of variables involved in the process, it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Since some aspects of determining the new month were left vague by the Prophet (Peace be upon him), people will naturally differ in trying to interpret what Allah and His Messenger really intended.

Therefore, I believe that trying to achieve local unity is more important, and should be the priority of our efforts. If two neighbouring countries were to observe Ramadan on different days, it would be less impactful than two neighbouring cities determining the month differently. Likewise, two neighbouring cities disagreeing would have less consequences than people in the same city, or the same Mosque, or even in the same household beginning and ending Ramadan on different days.

Respected Servants of Allah! The issue boils down to respect for authority. Muslims must obey and respect their leaders on this issue. In the absence of any central authority within a locality, whether it be a city, state, or country, any Muslim is free to adopt whatever criteria they want. Muslims, in any locality, must have leaders who are willing to come together and agree on one criteria to adopt, even if they do not agree it is the ideal or most correct method. This is the first step. The next step would be to ensure that the Muslims respect the decision of those leaders and agree to follow it, even if they are not convinced it is the most accurate method.

Until this occurs, Muslims may find peace in knowing that no calendar in the world is absolute, that the Prophet took into consideration foggy evenings when the crescent is not visible, and that Allah will judge us according to our intentions and efforts.

For example, like we, the Nigerian Muslim Ummah, Islamically and Sunnatically it is only the Amirul Mu’mineen, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, The President General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic affairs (NSCIA) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has the complete right to make an announcement for the starting and finishing the Ramadan fasting. The Sultan had a strong and reliable moon sighting committee which he is leading, together with him are the Emirs, Obas, Ohinoyis, Islamic scholars, religious leaders, university dons etc. They are following the guidelines of Islamic shari’ah concerning this important issue. Therefore it is a great innovation (Bid’ah), foolishness and lack of understanding of Islam for any Islamic scholar or any leader of any organization, sect or group to command his followers to fast or to stop fasting, because doing so is the simple way of bringing disunity, chaos and confusion in the Ummah. We have to fear Allah about the religion of Islam and the unity of this Ummah. We must avoid and stop making any contribution in disuniting the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

* Who Is The Person Of Good Character (Adali) Whose Statement About Sighting The Moon May Be Accepted by the Sultan’s Committee?

Dear Servants of Allah! In Arabic, the word Adl (Person of good character) means upright or straight; its opposite is crooked.

In shari’ah terminology it means the one who fulfils the obligatory duties and does not commit major sins, or persist in committing minor sins.

What is meant by fulfilling obligatory duties is things like the five daily prayers.

And he does not commit major sins such as spreading malicious gossip and backbiting.

As well as being of good character, he must also have strong eyesight and good memory, so that his claims may be believed. If he has weak eyesight, weak memory then his testimony cannot be accepted even if he is of good character, because if he gives testimony even though his eyesight is weak, then he is deluded.

The evidence for that is the fact that Allah has made strength and trustworthiness among the reasons for offering employment to a person. In the story of Prophets Musa and Shu’aib (AS), one of Shu’aib’s two daughters said:

“O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” [Qur’an, 28:26]

And the ifrit among the jinn who was commanded to bring the throne of the queen of Saba said:

“And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.” [Qur’an, 27:39]

These two characteristics are the basis of every deed, including giving testimony.

[See Al-Sharh al-Mumti, vol. 6 page 323 and  al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, vol. 30 page 5, Kuwait edition]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Friday Sermon, and I ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is All-forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 17, 1439 AH (May 4, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Sha’Aban: A Month Neglected By Many People, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Qur’an, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Qur’an, 4:1]

“O you who believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Qur’an, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Servants of Allah! The Islamic lunar calendar comprises of twelve months. Each month of the Islamic calendar has its religious as well as historical significance, however, there are a few months that hold a superior stature compared to other months and because of this they are given more value and respect by the Muslims. One of such months is the month of Sha’aban.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Sha’aban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. It falls between two sacred months, Rajab and Ramadan. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to spend most part of Sha’aban by fasting, Imam Bukhari reports in his Sahih that Aishah (RA) said:

“The Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’aban.”

Today, some ignorant people however have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Sha’aban (15th Sha’aban), which is popularly known as ‘NISFU SHA’ABAN.’ In Shaa Allah I’ll elaborate further on this issue in a bit.

Imam Ibn Rajab said:

“Fasting in Sha’aban is better than fasting in the sacred months (i.e. Dhul-Qadah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab – [Surah Tawbah, 9:36], and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawatib, which are done before and after fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadan are better than fasts at other times.” [See Lata’if al-Ma’arif fima li Mawasim al-Aam minal-Waza’if, by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]

Dear Servants of Allah! When Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) was asked, why he fasted so abundantly in the month of Sha’aban, he (Peace be upon him) said:

“(Sha’aban) is a month to which people do not pay attention, which people neglected, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds (Allah). And I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.” [An-Nasa’i, See also Sahih al-Targhib wat-Tarhib, page 425]

This and other Ahadith of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) encourage performing good deeds when people are likely to become negligent of Allah’s remembrance and worship, like remembering Allah in the market place, where people get busy in their dealings and in times of difficulty – Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah (migration) to me.” [Sahih Muslim]

The virtue and superiority of worshiping Allah when people tend to become negligent of Allah’s remembrance is because worship at such times is more difficult than worshiping Allah when everybody is engaged in the worship.

Fasting in Sha’aban serves as training before Ramadan. However, fasting the whole month of Sha’aban is Makruh (dislike) and against the Sunnah and way of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him). Ibn Abbas (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

It is also prohibited to fast at the end of Sha’aban with the intention of not missing the first days of Ramadan, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly and the last day of Sha’aban coincides with a day when the person habitually fasts, those who are bound by vows or have to make up some obligatory fasts. It is reported in Sahih al-Bukhari from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not preempt Ramadan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Fasting at the end of Sha’aban is prohibited to maintain distinction between the obligatory and voluntary fasts – it is also a precaution to prevent the people from falling into the trap of Shaitan (Satan), who persuaded the People of the Book (Ahlul Kitab) to add more fasts to that which Allah had made obligatory for them. For this same reason, it is also prohibited to fast on the ‘day of doubt (Yaumu as-Shak).’ A day of doubt is when people are not sure about the start of Ramadan, because of cloudy weather, or some other reason.

* NISFU SHA’ABAN (15th Sha’aban): Is there any reality?

Respected Servants of Allah! Some ignorant people have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Sha’aban (15th Sha’aban), which is popularly known as ‘NISFU SHA’ABAN’ in the Arabic language.

Specifying particular nights for worshiping Allah is against the Sunnah and way of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In fact, he (Peace be upon him) has strictly forbade specifying particular nights for worship, he said concerning Friday:

“Do not single out the night (preceding) Friday among the nights for prayer and do not single out Friday among days for fasting but only when anyone among you is accustomed to fast (on dates) which coincide with this day (Friday).” [Sahih Muslim]

Friday is the best day of the week and it is also greatly encouraged to perform good deeds on Friday. If it had been enough to worship Allah during some specific nights, and then become negligent of Him throughout the year, then Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) would have specified the night of Friday for worshiping Allah, but he forbade it. This clearly proves that worshiping Allah only during some particular nights in the whole year does not fulfill the slave’s obligation of worshiping his Lord. The slave is required to worship Allah at all times until his death, because worship is the sole purpose of man’s creation. Allah says:

“Glorify, the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) until there comes to you death.” [Qur’an, 15:99]

It was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) to worship Allah all throughout the year, all his nights and days were spent in the worship of Allah.

The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) during the month of Sha’aban was to fast and he (Peace be upon him) said concerning the virtue of Sha’aban:

“…it (Sha’aban) is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” [An-Nasa’i, See also Sahih al-Targhib wat-Tarhib, page 425]

Apart from this, most narrations that are commonly spread among the people concerning the virtues of the month of Sha’aban or specifically the night of 15th Sha’aban (Nisfu Sha’aban) are weak and fabricated. Scholars like Imams ash-Shawkani, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn Hibban, al-Qurtubi have greatly condemned these narrations. [For details refer to Al-Fawa’id al-Majmu’ah, Maudhu’at al-Kubrah and Tafsir Qurtubi]

From among the fabricated Ahadith are those which mention: “On this day (15th Sha’aban) Allah frees people from the Hellfire in accordance with the number of hair found on the skin of the goats of the tribe of Banu Kalb”, “anyone who prays fourteen Raka’ahs of Salah on the night of 15th Sha’aban will get the reward of accepted fasts and Hajj of twenty years”, etc. Anybody who relates such fabricated Ahadith should be reminded of the authentic Hadith of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), which says:

“Whosoever narrated a lie on my behalf, let him make his place in Hellfire.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Beloved Servants of Allah! The night of 15th Sha’aban has also been given the status and virtues of Lailatul-Qadr by misinterpreting Qur’anic verses. It is claimed that the lailatim-mubarakah (blessed night) mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhan [Qur’an, 44:3], refers to the night of 15th Sha’aban, when Allah forgives the sins of His slaves, increases their ages and provisions. Therefore, people stay awake all night and say innovated (Bid’ah) supplications in loud voices.

Allah says in Surah ad-Dukhan:

“By the manifest Book (this Qur’an) that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night (laylatim-mubarakah). Verily, we are ever warning.” [Qur’an, 44:2]

Allah informs us in this verse that He sent down the Qur’an in laylatim-mubarakah (the blessed night). The Qur’an itself identifies laylatim-mubarakah in other verses, it is mentioned in Surah al-Qadr [Qur’an, 97:1]:

“Verily, We have revealed it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of al-Qadr.”

So, according to this verse, laylatim-mubarakah is not the night of 15th Sha’aban but it is the Night of al-Qadr, which comes in Ramadan. Allah says in Surah al-Baqarah [Qur’an, 2:185]:

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an…”

Another deviant belief related to the night 15th of Sha’aban is that the mention of the descent of Ruh in Surah al-Qadr [Qur’an, 97:4], means that the souls of the dead people return back to the world and meet their wives and relatives. For this reason, widows prepare food liked by their husbands and wait for their arrival. People also visit graves and seek forgiveness for all those people who have died between the last Sha’aban and the present one.

Allah says in Surah al-Qadr:

“Therein (in the Night of Qadr) descend the Angels and the Ruh by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees.” [Qur’an, 97:4]

Firstly, this verse refers to the Night of al-Qadr and not 15th Sha’aban as explained earlier. Secondly, descending of the Ruh in this verse means the descending of Angel Jibrilu with other Angels and not souls of the dead people (See Tafsir Ibn Kathir). Besides, believing that souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet with their relatives is itself an incorrect belief. The teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world. I had explained this subject in details in my previous Sermon. Anyone who wishes to learn more about this subject may refer to it.

As far as visiting the graves is concerned, a weak narration (of Aishah (RA) reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhi (in the book of fasting) is often brought forth to support the visiting of graves on the night of 15th Sha’aban. The Hadith reads as follows:

“One night (i.e. night of mid Sha’aban) I found the Messenger of Allah absent from my apartment. I therefore, went out to search him out and he was in Baqi cemetery raising his head towards the heaven.’ He said, “O Aishah were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger will wrong you?” She said, ‘I replied: I had not such a low opinion about Allah and His Messenger, but I presumed that you had gone to some of your wives for some need.” He said, “Verily, Allah descends in the night of mid-Sha’aban to the heaven of the world and then forgives people more than the number of the hair of the sheep of Banu Kalb.”

A similar Hadith is also found in Sahih Muslim, but it does not mention the night of 15th Sha’aban. However, the Hadith of Sunan at-Tirmidhi is not authentic and thus does not have any proof for visiting graves specifically on the night of Sha’aban.

Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) has permitted the men to visit the graves at any time and make Du’a for the engraved. He (Peace be upon him) said:

“I used to forbid you from visiting graves, but now you should visit them, for surely they are reminders of the next life.” [Sahih Muslim]

And he (Peace be upon him) also taught us the Du’a of visiting graves:

“Peace be upon the Believers and Muslims among the inhabitants of these dwellings. May Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those following us. And we shall, Allah-willing, be joining you.” [Sahih Muslim]

But to specify certain days for visiting graves was neither the practice of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), nor the Sahabah (RA), therefore, visiting graves specifically on 15th Sha’aban should be avoided, as it falls under the category of innovations (Bid’ahs) and Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said about innovations:

“… and the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters, every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.” [An-Nasa’i]

Many people also light candles on graves, which has no basis from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. In fact, lighting candles is an imitation of the fire worshipers (majus), and Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated that:

“Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) cursed the women who visit the graves. He also cursed those who set up Mosques and lights over graves.” [Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i]

* A Reminder in Sha’aban

Dear Brothers and Sisters! If you still have to make up any missed obligatory fasts of last Ramadan, then hasten to make up them before the next Ramadan arrives. It is not permissible to delay missed fasts until after the following Ramadan, except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadan). Aishah (RA) says:

“It used to be that I had days to make up for Ramadan and I would not be able to do so except in Sha’aban.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Anybody who is able to make up the missed fasts before the (second) Ramadan and does not do so has to make them up after the (second) Ramadan and in addition, he should repent and feed one poor person for each day that was missed. [This is the view of Imams Malik, al-Shafi’i and Ahmad]

* Three great innovations (Bid’ahs) in Sha’aban!!!

The three great Bid’ahs (religious innovations) which some people do in the month of Sha’aban, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Salih al-Uthaymin said:

“I would like to warn against the three things which are done in the middle of Sha’aban: The First issue: Amongst the general mass, there are many people who think that the night of the middle of Sha’aban (i.e. the 15th of Sha’aban) is Lailatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) and that one (who prays in this night) gets the reward that has been mentioned in the Sunnah (i.e. his previous sins would be forgiven).

But what is known is that Lailatul-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadan and the evidence for that is the saying of Allah in the Qur’an: “Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr.” [al-Qadr, 97:1] And in the saying of Allah: “Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book (this Qur’an) that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.” [al-Dhukhan, 44:1-4]This is the Text which is clear that the Qur’an was sent down on Lailatul-Qadr, in which matters of ordainment are decreed.

Then Allah also says: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” [al-Baqarah, 2:185] This is sure, clear and certain proof that Lailatul-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadan, rather it occurs in the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. The Second issue: Some people specially mark this night (of the middle of Sha’aban) by establishing prayers in the night and Fasting in the day, based upon the Weak Ahadith. Since these Ahadith are not authentic, then specially marking out the middle of Sha’aban for establishing night prayers should not be done. But if a person is in the habit of getting up for night prayers, then he should pray in the night of the middle of Sha’aban like he prays in any other night without marking it as a special occasion.

Similarly, one should not make it a special occasion to Fast only in the middle of Sha’aban because nothing such has been reported from the Prophet (Peace be upon him). But if one Fasts for three days of Ayyam al-Bidh (i.e. the night when the Moon is full) and they are the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth day (of the Lunar calendar); so if one Fasts on these three days, then his Fasting will be in accordance with the Sunnah.

But one should not believe that this (Fasting these three days in Sha’aban) is better than Fasting in any other month, even though the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to Fast much in this month of Sha’aban, more than any other month, sometimes he would Fast for almost the complete month except for a few days. The Third issue: Some people specially prepare food on the 15th of Sha’aban and invite others over it or they distribute it to the neighbours and relatives believing that there is more virtue if one does it specially on this night.

But I say: The matter is not like (how they perceive). Nothing has been legislated that one should mark this night by specially preparing food or inviting people for food or giving out Sadaqah (charity). It is like any other day, one should prepare food on this day like the way he does on any other day of the year. These are the three Bid’ahs which some people have fallen into, which I wanted to warn against.” [See Majmu’ al-Fatawa of Shaykh Ibn Al-Uthaimin, vol. 7 page 279-281]

Dear Servants of Allah! I’m reminding myself and my Muslim brothers and sisters, especially the Nigerian Muslim Ummah that it is only the Amirul Mu’mineen, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has the right to make an announcement for the commencement and finishing the Ramadan fast. It is a great innovation (Bid’ah) in Islam for any Islamic scholar or any leader of any organization, sect or group to do so. We have to fear Allah, we must avoid making contributions in disuniting the Ummah.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Friday Sermon, and I ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 10, 1439 AH (April 27, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Prince Salman Can’t Stop Makkah, Madinah From Being The Most Sacred Places In Islam, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! When a person contemplates the state of people who are trapped in forbidden lusts and those who pursue the satisfaction of their instincts and desires, you will find that they share a common factor, which is evident in their every movement and moment of repose, and which is reflected in their facial features: a weak connection with Allah.

How can a heart which is connected to Allah, a heart that knows Him and has tasted the pleasure of being close to Him, find pleasure or comfort in hating, attacking and insulting Makkah and Madinah, the sacred places loved by Allah and His Messenger, because of some activities of the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammed Bin Salman Al Saud? Thus, everyone who has fallen into one of the sins related to following desires, or returned to it after repentance and abandoning it, has been dragged to this state due to the weakness of his faith. Weak faith facilitates the way to his soul which is a persistent enjoiner of evil, as well as to the accursed Shaytan, and thus he was trapped in the swamps of worshiping his desire after being firm for a long time in the gardens of faith.

Sincere faith in Allah is the shield against falling into prohibitions, second only, of course, to the guidance of Allah.

Thus, when faith inhabits the heart, dominates the feelings, and flows to the organs to lead them to the pleasure of Allah, the person will not dare to think of committing an act of disobedience. The eye will not dare to look at what is prohibited, nor will any part of the body dare to disobey the commands of Allah. Building faith in the heart is not easy; however, the one who insists on knocking on the door will be let in eventually.

Respected Servants of Allah! This is a modest attempt to help you on your way to strong faith, which destroys the desire that may have humiliated you and caused you to suffer one calamity after another. Please my dear friend, I advise you, don’t be among those who have evil intentions about Makkah and Madinah. They are the places loved by Allah the Almighty and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

My people! If you can remember, the crown prince Muhammed Bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) has called for more entertainment options in the kingdom for both families and youth. His cabinet passed regulation to reduce the power of the religious police and religious leaders, and an entertainment authority was established in May 2016.

In his attempt to override Islamic tradition, he engaged younger Saudi Muslim scholars who are active on social media and better known among Saudi youth, as opposed to the kingdom’s council of senior scholars who set official religious policy and often release religious opinions.

In December 2017, he lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas and allow films to be screened as early as next year.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information approved licences for those wishing to open cinemas in the kingdom.

Awwad bin Saleh al-Awwad, the Saudi culture minister, confirmed the report in a statement as reported.

Saudi Arabia placed a complete ban on cinemas in the early 1980s. Now the first cinemas are expected to open in March 2018.

The decision to reopen comes amid a series of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud as part of the so-called government’s Vision 2030 plan to revitalise and diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.

Dear Servants of Allah! Shaikh Muhammad Salih Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) said:

“There is not in the world a land that is sacred except these two Sacred Sites: The Haram of Makkah, and the Haram of Madinah. As for what is said by some: “Haram of Al-Aqsa” and “Ibrahim’s Haram”, then this is not correct and has no evidence to support it.”
[See Ash-Sharh al-Mumti, vol. 7 page 215]

From the places of virtue that Allah has extolled and mentioned their excellence to the exclusion of others is the city of Makkah: the place of safety and security, the place where revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) began, and from where he was appointed as the Messenger to mankind. It is the city which Allah swears by in the Qur’an:

“I swear by this city, Makkah – And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city.” [Surah Al-Balad: 1-2]

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) said:

“This is an oath of Allah (the Most High) by Makkah “Umm al-Qura” (the mother of all towns), due to the fact that living in it puts one in a state that indicates the greatness of the city itself wherein the people are in a state of Ihram, living in a sanctity. Allah sated:

“And by this city of security (Makkah).” [Surah At-Tin: 3]

* Narrations That Show The Excellence Of Makkah And Its Sacredness:

1. Within Makkah is the Ancient House (Al-Bayt Al-Atiq) for the worship of Allah alone. It was the first place of monotheistic worship built for mankind. Allah sated:

“Verily, the first House of worship appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for all of creation.”
[Surah Ali Imran: 96]

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report in the two Sahih collections from Abu Zar (RA) that he said:

“I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) regarding the first Masjid that was made in the world?” So he said: “The Masjid al-Haram.” I asked: “Then which one after that?” He said: “Masjid al-Aqsa.” I asked: “What was the time period between them?” He replied: “Forty years.”

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

“This hadith is difficult to comprehend for those who do not know its intent, a person may say: “It is known that Prophet Sulaiman Ibn Dawud (AS) was the one who built Masjid al-Aqsa and there was between him and Ibrahim over a thousand year gap.” So this shows the ignorance of such a person. That is because Sulaiman (AS) merely rebuilt and renovated the Masjid al-Aqsa – he did not establish it or build it in the first place. Rather the one who originally built it was Ya’qub Ibn Is-haq (AS), and that was after Ibrahim (AS) built the Ka’abah at Makkah.” [See Zad al-Ma’ad, vol. 1 page 50]

2. Allah made it a Haram (a sanctity) wherein it is not permitted to shed blood; not permitted to cut a tree; not permitted to chase or scare game animals; not permitted to cut shrubs; it is not permitted to pick up a lost item not belonging to you except with the intent of announcing that one has found it, seeking its owner.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim reported in the two Sahihs from the Hadith of Abu Shuraih (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah made Makkah a sanctity and it was not the people who did that. So it is not permitted for a person who believes in Allah and the Last Day to spill blood therein [i.e. kill another person] or to cut down a tree. If anybody argues that fighting is allowed in Makkah as Allah’s Messenger did fight in Makkah. Tell them that Allah gave permission to His Messenger, but He did not give it to you. Allah allowed it for me only for a few hours on that one day [of the conquest] – and today its sanctity is the same as it was before. So let the one who is present convey that to the one who is absent.”

3. That which is narrated concerning the virtue of praying in the Masjid al-Haram.

Imam Ahmad reported with an authentic chain of narration in his Musnad from the Hadith of Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The prayer in this Masjid of mine [in Madinah] is more excellent than a 1000 prayers in any other place except for the Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah], for the prayer in the Masjid al-Haram is 100,000 times more excellent.”

The people of knowledge have looked into whether this manifold increase in virtue applies to the whole of the sacred area (al-Haram) or only the Masjid al-Haram surrounding the Ka’abah.

The first issue is: The Hadith previously mentioned stated: “The prayer in the Masjid al-Haram is 100,000 times more excellent.” The texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah which mention “Al-Masjid Al-Haram” intend by its usage the whole of the Haram area. For example the saying of Allah the Most High:

“This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid al-Haram (i.e. non-resident of Makkah)..” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:196]

And His saying:

“Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him, Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem).” [Surah Al-Isra: 1]

On that night he was taken from the house of the Companion Umm Hani (RA), yet Allah still referred to it as “Al-Masjid Al-Haram”, i.e. that the term refers to the sacred area and not only to the Mosque. There are also proofs from the Sunnah: When the Messenger (Peace be upon him) was at Al-Hudaibiyah (a place between Makkah and Madinah), and it was time to pray, he entered the Haram (Sacred) area and prayed. [Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, with a good chain of narration].

The second issue is that there are narrations from the Salaf (Pious predecessors) that show that the reward of all of the deeds is multiplied in the area of the Haram, acting in that regard upon the saying of Allah the Most High:

“And whoever inclines to evil actions therein (in the Haram area) or to do wrong, him We shall cause to taste a painful torment.” [Surah Al-Hajj: 25]

The tremendous nature of the sacredness of the Haram and the strong forbiddance of committing evil indicates likewise its immense virtue for the one doing righteous actions. And the affair has a detailed study connected to it.

4. Allah has informed us that Makkah is Umm al-Qura as occurs in His saying:

“And thus We have inspired unto you (O Muhammad) a Quran in Arabic that you may warn the Mother of the Towns (Makkah) and all those around it.” [Surah Ash-Shura: 7]

So in Islam, all the towns, villages, cities and countries follow on from it and are branches of it.

5. It is the Qiblah (direction of prayer) for all the people of the earth, and there is no Qiblah in the world besides it. Allah said:

“And from wherever you go out [for prayer], turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:150]

Bukhari and Muslim reported in the two Sahihs from the Hadith of Usamah Ibn Zaid and Ibn Abbas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) exited his house and offered two raka’ahs in prayer facing the Ka’abah, and then said: “This is the Qiblah.”

6. There is safety for the one who enters the Haram. Allah said:

“…whosoever enters it, he attains security. [Surah Ali Imran: 97]

So this is either informing us of the reality of the affair alongside the impossibility of there being any contradiction in the sayings of Allah. Or it is information regarding the legislation (Shari’ah) of Allah and His Religion concerning its sacredness. Or it is informing us of an affair and a covenant that is continuous concerning its sacredness in the times of pre-Islamic ignorance (Jahiliyyah) through to Islam, just as Allah has said:

“Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a sanctuary secure, and that men are being snatched away from all around them? Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny (become ingrate for) the Graces of Allah?” [Surah Al-Ankabut, 67]

“And they say: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all kinds…” [Surah Al-Qasas: 57] [See Zad al-Ma’ad, vol. 3 page 445]

7. That it is forbidden to face it and turn one’s back to it whilst relieving oneself.

Bukhari and Muslim report from the Hadith of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“When you defecate, do not face the Qiblah, and do not turn your back to it – neither when defecating nor when urinating. Rather turn to the East or the West.”

8. Allah chose it for the Rites of Hajj, and he made travelling to it an act of worship – for which a person is raised in rank and his sins are wiped away, as there occurs in Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadith of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever performs Hajj for Allah alone and keeps away from sexual acts and from sin, he return home like it was the day that his mother gave birth to him.”

9. Makkah is the best place on earth and the most beloved to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

At-Tirmidhi authentically reports in his Sunan from Abdullah Ibn Adiy (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said whilst addressing Makkah:

“By Allah! You are best of the lands of Allah, and the best land of Allah to Allah! And were it not for the fact that I was expelled from you, I would never have left you.”

Tirmidhi also reports from Ibn Abbas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said to the land of Makkah:

“There is no finer place than you, no place more beloved to me! And were it not for the fact that your people expelled me from you, I would not have lived elsewhere.”

11. It is the place from where Allah took His Prophet into the Heavens on the night of the Journey. Allah the Most High said:

“Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Al-Isra: 1]

12. It is not permitted to embark upon a religious journey except to three Mosques, the Masjid al-Haram being one of them.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not embark upon a [religious] journey except to three Mosques: Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Makkah), the Mosque of the Messenger (in Madinah) and the Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).”

13. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, connected the Sacred House in Makkah to Himself specifically:

“…and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf…” [Surah Al-Hajj: 27]

This connection is particular and specific due to the sacredness that Allah has endowed the Ka’abah with, and the honour He has given to Makkah, and His love for it. This singularly is sufficient honour for this city and the Grand Mosque.

14. Allah has attached the hearts of people to His Sacred House, the Grand Mosque. He made it a place of constant returning for them:

“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security…” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 125]

It is such that the heart keeps desiring to return to it over and over. And as the centuries have gone by, the numbers desiring to visit it has only increased. And the more one visits it, the more one is pulled by his soul to visit it again.

Look at how the people spend their halal wealth, leave behind their businesses, their homes and families because their hearts are drawn to this blessed place. They care not what it costs, because the visitation of the House of Allah for Hajj and Umrah only wipes away poverty and sins just as the furnace purifies gold, silver and iron from its impurities.

May Allah the Most Generous, the Compassionate continue to give us the opportunity to love, respect and visit the Masjid al-Haram for the purpose of worshipping Him alone and earning His reward. Ameen.

* The Virtues Of Madinah

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Indeed the Madinah of Allah’s Messenger is the most pleasant of places, it is Taybah, it is the returning place and sanctuary of Iman, it is the home of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, it is the place where the trustworthy Angel Jibril descended upon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with the Revelation (Wahy).

Allah has honoured the blessed city of Madinah, He has given it excellence over all of the cities after Makkah. There are many narrations that mention its excellence, its virtues, its sanctity and its status – and how the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would supplicate for it and inform his Companions regarding it.

* From Its Virtues:

1. Allah, the Most High, made it a sacred sanctuary.

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah! Indeed Ibrahim designated Makkah sacred and made it a sanctuary. I declare Madinah sacred – the area between its two mountains is a sanctuary. No blood is to be shed therein, and no weapon is to be carried therein for the purpose of fighting – and the leaves are not to be shaken from their trees, except for fodder.”

The sanctity of Madinah runs between the two lava plains from east to west, and between Mount Ayr (to the south) to Mount Thawr (to the north).

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih from Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Madinah is sacred and a sanctuary between Ayr and Thawr, so whoever introduces an innovation or gives refuge to an innovator, then upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels and the whole of mankind.”

And from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whatever is between its two lava plains is a sanctuary.”

The lava plains refers to the place where there are black rocks in the east and west of the city.

2. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) named the city as Taibah and Tabah.

Imam Muslim reports from Fatimah Bint Qays (RA) in the Hadith of Al-Jassasah wherein the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“This is Taibah, this is Taibah, meaning al-Madinah.”

And in the narration of Al-Bukhari:

“This is Tabah.”

Imam Ibn Hajr stated that it is said by the scholars that it (i.e. Taibah and Tabah) means that its soil is fine, and its air is good – indeed there emanates from its soil and walls a pleasant fragrance that is not found elsewhere. [See Fathul-Bari, vol. 4 page 89]

3. Iman (Faith) will return and gather back into Madinah.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Surely Iman will return to Madinah just as a snake returns back to its hole.”

4. The one who bears some of the harsh and difficult conditions of Madinah, then such a person is promised a tremendous reward.

Imam Muslim reports from Abu Sa’id, the freed slave of Al-Mahri, that he experienced distress and hardship in Madinah as well as high prices. So he came to Abu Sa’id al-Khudri and he said to him: “I have many dependants and we are feeling the hardships, so I wish to move my family to a rural farming area.” Abu Sa’id said: Woe to you! I advise you not to do that. I heard Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) say:

“No one bears its hardships with patience and then dies except that I will be an intercessor for him (or a witness) on the Day of Resurrection so long as he was a Muslim.”

Also in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“A time will come when a man will call to his paternal cousin and his relatives saying: ‘Come to a life of ease! Come to a life of ease!’ But Madinah is better for them, if only they but knew! By the One in whose Hand is my soul, no one departs from Madinah out of dislike for it except that Allah will replace him with one who is better than him.”

The scholars such as Imam Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) explained that living in Madinah is better for them because the Messenger made it a sacred sanctuary, and it is the place of Revelation, a place where blessings descend – so if only they knew what it means to settle in Madinah due to its religious benefits that are underestimated by people in exchange for immediate hidden good fortune that is found by living in other cities.

5. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that Abu Hurairah (RA) said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated:

“I have been commanded to go to a town which supersedes all other towns. They say: ‘It is [called] Yathrib’ but it is Madinah. It purifies the people just as the bellows eliminate the impurities of iron.”

The scholars such as Imam Al-Baghawi in Sharhus-Sunnah have stated that it supersedes [or consumes] means that Allah will aid Islam by way of the people of Madinah and that the townships are conquered by them and the bounties are brought back and consumed by them.

6. From the virtues of Madinah is the supplication of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for it to be blessed.

Imam Muslim reports from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah, bless us in our Madinah. O Allah, bless us in our Sa’i (a measure of four cupped handfuls). O Allah, bless us in our Mudd (a measure of single cupped handful). And to each blessing add two more. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, there is no mountain pass nor road around Madinah but there are two Angels standing guard over it until you return back to it.”

7. Neither plague nor the Dajjal will enter Madinah.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“On the roads into Madinah there are Angels so that neither plague nor the Dajjal can enter it.”

8. In Madinah there is the Prophet’s Masjid – it is from those Mosques to which one is permitted to travel for religious purpose.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

Prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque receives a manifold increase in reward.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The prayer in this Masjid of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other Masjid except for the Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah].”

9. In Madinah there is Masjid Qubah and praying in it equates to an Umrah!

Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) narrated in his Musnad from Sahl Ibn Hanif that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever leaves out until he reaches this Masjid, meaning Masjid Qubah, and he prayers inside it, then it is like performing an Umrah.”

10. In the Prophet’s Masjid there is the honourable Garden (Ar-Rawdah).

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whatever is between my house and my pulpit is a garden from the Gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is over my lake.”

Imam Ibn Hajr stated that this is yet another encouragement to live in Madinah – and his (Peace be upon him) saying: “A garden from the Gardens of Paradise” means that there descends upon it mercy, and happiness, and if one was to pray there it is as if he has prayed in a Garden of Paradise. Or it could mean that it is a real garden that will be transferred in the Hereafter into Paradise.

11. In Madinah there is the Mountain of Uhud.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Humaid (RA) that he said: We returned with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from the Battle of Tabuk until we reached Madinah, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“This is Tabah and this is Uhud – It is a mountain that loves us, and we love it.”

12. There is in Madinah the Valley of Al-Aqiq.

Imam Bukhari reports from Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Tonight there came to me a messenger Angel from my Lord. He said: ‘Pray in this blessed valley, and say: Umratan fi Hajjatin (i.e. the talbiyah for Umrah and Hajj).’”

13. From Madinah we get the blessed Ajwah date.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Sa’id that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever eats seven Ajwah dates in the morning, then he will not be harmed by poison or magic on that day.”

14. Madinah purifies itself from filth.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Jabir Ibn Abdillah that a Bedouin pledged allegiance to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) then the Bedouin suffered a severe fever in Madinah. He came to the Prophet and said: “O Muhammad cancel my oath of allegiance.” But the Prophet refused. He went away, came back and repeated his request and the Prophet refused again. He did that three or four times. After that the Bedouin himself left Madinah on his own accord. So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Madinah is like bellows, it eliminates its filth and impurities and it purifies what is good.”

15. Whoever wishes harm and evil upon the people of Madinah, Allah will destroys him.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever intends to do harm [or wishes ill] to the people of Madinah, Allah will cause him to melt like salt dissolving in water.”

And in a narration of Imam Muslim:

“…except that Allah will melt him in the Fire like lead, or like salt dissolving in water.”

And in a narration reported by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad:

“Whoever scares the people of Madinah oppressively, then Allah scares him – upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels and all of humankind – and on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not accept from him any payment nor compensation.”

16. Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) lived there and died there as did many of his wives and Companions. Buried next to him in the residence of Aishah (RA) are his two closest and trusted Companions, the two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar (RA). It is NOT legislated for anyone to embark upon a journey to only visit the graves of Prophets nor the righteous – this is proven by the Hadith already stated above:

“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

And visiting the Prophet’s Mosque is not from the obligations of Hajj or Umrah. However, if one is in Madinah, then it is legislated to attend the funerals and to visit the graveyards so that one is reminded of death and may supplicate for the deceased. In this regard, one may also visit the grave of the Prophet and his two Companions to give them salutations, just as Ibn Umar (RA) would do:

“Assalamu alaika Ya Rasulallah. Assalamu alaika Ya Aba Bakr. Assalamu alaika Ya Abati (O my father).”

Then he would leave.

So a visitor today would say:

“Assalamu alaika Ya Rasulallah. Assalamu alaika Ya Aba Bakr. Assalamu alaika Ya Umar.”

And leave without lingering.

[See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin]

Again Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) said:

“It is not allowed to stand for a long time in front of the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) making Du’a (supplication) or at the graves of his two Companions. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) used to hate for that to done saying: ‘It is a bid’ah that was not practiced by the Salaf – and the latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified its first part.’” [See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Ibn Uthaimin, page 144]

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:

“Imam Malik would hate for the the people of Madinah that every time anyone entered the Prophet’s Mosque that he would go to the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), because the Salaf would not do that. Rather they would come to the Masjid and they would pray in it behind Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (RA) – and each would utter in his prayer (in the Tashahhud): Assalamu alaika ayyuhan-Nabiyy wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,’ (i.e. peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings). Then once the prayer had finished, they would stand or leave – and they would not head to the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to give him salutations of Salam. This was due to their knowledge that the salutations, peace, the mention and prayers upon him in their Daily Prayer [in the tashahhud] was better and more excellent.” [See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Ibn Uthaimin, page 144]

And if that is the case with the Salam and Salutations, then how much greater in travesty and calamity is the case of the one who stands by the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) holding conversations with him, seeking his assistance and his succour!Seeking help, rescue, cure and other such matters from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is major polytheism (shirk) that exits one from the fold of Islam. Wal iyazu billah!

It is also not permitted to go to any grave and supplicate to Allah for one’s own needs thinking that being in the presence of a grave is a nearness to Allah [even if it be the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)] making it more likely for his supplication being accepted.
As for the oft-quoted fables and “Hadith” such as:

1. “Whoever performs Hajj and does not visit me, then verily he has shunned me.” Then this Hadith is weak at best, though in reality it is fabricated and a lie. In it there are narrators who are very weak, and others unknown as stated by Ad-Daruqutni, Al-Bazzar and Al-Bayhaqi. [See Fatawa tata’alaq bi-Ahkamil-Hajj wal-Umrah waz-Ziyarah min Ijabah of Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah), page 147-149]

2. “Whoever visits me after my death, it is as if he has visited me during my lifetime.” [Collected by Ad-Daruqutni, Abu Ya’ala in his Musnad, and Ibn Adiy in Al-Kamil] There is in the chain of narration weak and unknown narrators. So the narration cannot be attributed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). [See Fatawa tata’alaq bi-Ahkamil-Hajj wal-Umrah waz-Ziyarah min Ijabah of Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah), page 147-149]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself forbade rituals and ceremonies at his grave saying in an authentic Hadith:

“Do not take my grave as a place of rituals or festivities, neither turn your homes into graves. And send upon me your Salutations of Salam, for it will be carried to me from wherever you may be.” [Reported by Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahid al-Maqdisi in Al-Mukhtarah]

As for the Hadith:

“Whoever prays forty prayers [in the Prophet’s Mosque] then freedom from Hellfire will be written for him and freedom from hypocrisy.”

Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) said:

“This narration is weak as far the scholars of Hadith verification have stated, and thus it cannot be used as a proof or relied upon.”

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Sermon and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 3, 1439 AH (April 20, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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The Descriptions Of Real Men In Islam And Christianity, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Nourisher (Rabb) of the entire universe; the felicity of the hereafter is for those who fear Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He is without partner, the object of worship of all the fore-runners and those gone-by. He maintains and administers the heavens and  earth.

I further bear testimony to the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Messenger, His beloved and the custodian of His Revelation. Almighty Allah had sent him as the Messenger of good tidings and warner to all of humanity. He has been sent as the caller towards Allah, a shining and bright lamp shedding light. Allah’s blessings be upon His Messenger (Peace be upon him), his progeny, his Companions, who followed him in his mission of inviting the people towards Allah, remained steadfast therein, and offered sacrifices for the same, till Allah, the Almighty gave supremacy to His religion through them and gave eminence to His Kalimah – in spite of the disliking of the polytheists. Countless salutations – Peace and blessings be upon the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).

* The Real Men In Islam

Dear Brothers and Sisters! With a variety of modern ideologies, philosophies, and religions competing to define what it means to be a ‘man,’ it is ever more critically important for Muslim men to understand masculinity as it was understood by the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih). Unlike theories of masculinity that promote the ‘alpha male’ as dominating other men and women, masculinity in Islam is for a man to fulfill the good character traits and dignified manners taught by the religion as a whole.

Dear Servants of Allah! A true Muslim man is just, kind, compassionate, forgiving, responsible, hard-working, humble, patient, forbearing, truthful, trustworthy, courageous, soft-hearted, honouring women, controlling his lower desires and impulses, fulfilling the needs of others before himself, continually refining his intellect, improving his character, seeking knowledge as a life-long learner, avoiding undignified behaviour and sinful deeds, and emulating the character of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his righteous followers to the best of his ability.

The Islamic concept of masculinity, manhood, or ‘manliness’ (al-muru’ah) can be summarized by the broad ethical injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah. Ibn Marzuban reported that:

“Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, passed by some people who were talking. Ali said, “What are you doing?” They said, “We are discussing manhood.” Then Ali said: Has not Allah Almighty sufficed you in His book wherein He said, ‘Verily, Allah commands justice and excellence,’ (Quran, 16:90)? Justice is to have a sense of fairness and excellence is to prefer others to yourself. What remains of manhood after this?” [See al-Muru’ah, vol. 1 page 97]

Men ought to view themselves as composed of a mind, body, and soul, and to consistently work to improve each dimension of their being, especially their inner-character. Imam Al-Mawardi reported that:

“Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The foundation of a man is his intellect, his honour is in his religion, and his manhood is in his character.” [See Adab al-Dunya wad-Din, page 17]

The righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) understood manhood to be comprehensive of all religious virtues in Islam. Amru Ibn Ubayd reported that:

“It was said to Hasan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, “What is manhood?” Hasan said: It is the religion.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 64]

And Hasan said:

“Verily, there is no religion for one without manhood.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 19]

Ibn Marzuban devoted an entire book to manhood, in which he compiled and documented the sayings of the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) on the meaning of being a man. The many shades of meaning they attributed to the word ‘manhood’ in classical Arabic are summarized in Lane’s Lexicon as follows:

“Manly perfection, consisting in abstinence from things unlawful, or in chastity of manners, and having some art or trade, or in abstaining from doing secretly what one would be ashamed to do openly, or in the habit of doing what is approved, and shunning what is held base, or in preserving the soul from filthy actions, and what disgraces it in the estimation of men, or in good manners, and guarding the tongue, and shunning impudence, or in a quality of the mind by preserving which a man is made to preserve in good manners and habits, or manly virtue or moral goodness.” [See Lane’s Lexicon vol. 2 page 2702]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! One of the most important characteristics of a true Muslim man is the ability to forgive others even when the opportunity for revenge is available. This quality of compassion stands diametrically opposed to false belief of the ‘alpha male’ as domineering and vengeful. Ibn Marzuban reported that:

“It was said to Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah, may Allah have mercy on him, “All things are derived from the Quran, so where is manhood in it?” Sufyan said: In the saying of Allah Almighty, ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin good, and turn away from the ignorant,’ (Quran, 7:199). In this is manhood.” [See al-Muru’ah, vol. 1 page 133]

Al-Mada’ini reported that:

“It was said to Ahnaf Ibn Qais, may Allah have mercy on him, “What is manhood?” Ahnaf said: Forbearance at a time of anger and forgiveness at a time of power.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 64]

Abdullah Ibn Shumait reported that:

“Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani, may Allah have mercy on him, said: A man will not hit the mark, nor fulfill his manhood, until he has two characteristics: Forgiving people and overlooking their faults.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 106]

Respected Servants of Allah! A true Muslim man should be kind towards people and love for them the same as he loves for himself. He should give off a friendly and non-threatening aura, while also putting the needs of others over himself. Ahmad Ibn Jamil reported that:

“Muhammad Ibn al-Nadr, may Allah have mercy on him, said: The first part of manhood is a cheerful face. The second part is loving kindness to people. The third part is fulfilling the needs of others.” [See al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm, page 828]

In contrast, it is not the characteristic of a true Muslim man to put on a show of bravado to others, as if the sign of a man were his ability to incite fear and project strength. Rather, a real man is known by the measure of his trustworthiness and his refrain from hurting others; in a word, his virtue. Ibn Al-Mubarak reported that:

“Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Do not let yourselves be impressed by the roar of a man. Rather, if he fulfills the trust and restrains himself from harming the honour of people, then he will truly be a man.” [See al-Zuhd wal-Raqa’iq, page 681]

A true Muslim man does not allow himself to be dragged into the gutter of insults, mockery, and bitter arguments. It is the beneath the dignity of a believer to put down or make fun of others, as this contradicts the spirit of goodwill he should have. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The believer does not taunt others, he does not curse others, he does not use profanity, and he does not abuse others.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Ibn Abi Dunya reported that:

“Sa’id Ibn al-As, may Allah have mercy on him, said: I have not insulted a man ever since I became a man.” [See al-Hilm of Ibn Abi Dunya, page 119]

Moreover, in Islam, the authentic sign of strength is the ability to control one’s desires and impulses, especially anger. A man who cannot control himself is spiritually weak, even if he has the largest muscles of all. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The strong are not the best wrestlers. Verily, the strong are only those who control themselves when they are angry.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Abu Nu’aim reported that:

“Sufyan al-Thawri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: A woman will pass by a man and he cannot restrain himself from looking at her lustfully although there is no benefit in it. What could be weaker than this?” [See Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 7 page 68]

Mansur Ibn Abdullah reported that:

“Al-Kattani, may Allah have mercy on him, said: The truly weak man is he who is too weak to manage and control himself.” [See Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 54 page 254]

It is good to have a healthy, strong body, but some men are naturally more muscular than others. This blessing they have not earned has no bearing on their value to Allah the Almighty.

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, was one such Companion who had a smaller build than most men, yet he was absolutely huge in terms of his muru’ah, knowledge, righteousness, and service to Islam. Ibn Mas’ud reported that:

“He was harvesting toothsticks from an Arak tree and he had tiny shins. The wind blew and made him fall over, so people laughed at him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: What are you laughing at? They said, “O Prophet of Allah, at his tiny shins.” The Prophet said: By the one in whose hand is my soul, they will both be heavier on the Scale than the mountain of Uhud.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

A true Muslim man might have a smaller build than most men, but still be better to Allah than most men. For this reason and many others, a real man should never make fun of another’s natural, physical appearance.

A true Muslim man is likewise chivalrous and honourable towards the women in his life: his mother, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, sisters in Islam, and women in general. He will not incite people to kill their husbands and their children. The measure of a man’s character is directly related to how he treats women. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The most complete of the believers in faith are those with the most excellent character, and the best of you are the best in behaviour to their women.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The best of you are the best to their women.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

It is not the characteristic of true men to ‘dominate’ women, abduct them, degrade them, kill their husbands and children, exploit them, or brag about their sexual ‘conquests.’ In fact, it is precisely the opposite; a real man protects women who are vulnerable to abuse and injustice. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: O Allah, I have issued a warning in regards to the rights of two vulnerable groups: orphans and women.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

This is most apparent within the marriage relationship, which should be based upon love, mercy, and partnership. The worst men are those who mistreat their wives by finagling the law to circumvent its ethical underpinnings. Though a scholar might hold an opinion that a husband’s misbehaviour is ‘legal’ in the sense it carries no legal consequences, it is nevertheless corrupt, immoral, sinful, and unmanly. Raja’a reported that:

“Dawud Ibn Abi Hind, may Allah have mercy on him, said: I sat with the learned jurists (Fuqaha) and I found my religion with them. I sat with the preachers and I found softness in my heart. I sat with the elders of people and I found manhood among them. I sat with the worst of people and I found that one of them would divorce his wife for an offense that does not even amount to a hair.” [See al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm, page 458]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! A true Muslim man is characterized by a balance of all of the virtues taught by Islam: justice, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, humility, patience, truthfulness, courage, responsibility, chivalry, and so on. The concept of the ‘alpha male’ as domineering, aggressive, vengeful, thuggish, and ‘strong’ is a false and toxic belief that encourages misbehaviour in general and the mistreatment of women, in particular. On the contrary, truly strong men are those capable of controlling themselves and traversing the higher, straight path of virtue in opposition to the animalistic tendencies of the human soul.

* The Real Men In Christianity

My Respected people! In popular media, men are often portrayed as dense, selfish, arrogant, sexually immoral and at least potentially violent. A man who acts the way society thinks he should, particularly toward women, is often referred to as a “real man” or a “man’s man.”

Sadly, this popular image of “real” manliness is based on misinformation and bad assumptions. God, the designer of human beings, sees things differently than society does.

“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature … For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]

Looking at the heart is a concept lost on much of modern culture. It’s much easier to use only what we see as the basis for our opinions and actions.

My people! What does the Bible actually say about being a real man? If we look closely, we can find three keys to true masculinity to help us understand how men should treat women and others in general as Christianity taught.

– In Christianity, Real Men Respect Everyone

To respect something is to consider it “worthy of high regard.” This is exactly the attitude that God says men should have toward women. That means all women, by the way, not just those we consider physically attractive.

To Christians, Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this behaviour. His followers taught that husbands ought to love their wives “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”— and that husbands should “love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” [Ephesians 5:25 , 28]

True love is based on fundamental respect. Wives, in turn, are told to respect their husbands. Clearly, this is meant to be a mutual respect, a reaction to the respect her husband is already showing her.

Ultimately, though, God wants us to treat everyone with an outgoing, unselfish concern and deep respect for their well-being.

– In Christianity, Real Men Protect Everyone

To protect is to shield someone from exposure, from injury or destruction. A man who respects others will act to protect not just himself but others as well from various forms of exposure and injury.

Consider the biblical story of Ruth. A young Moabite woman, she was the daughter-in-law of Elimelech and Naomi, an Israelite couple who fled to Moab (in the area of modern-day Jordan) to escape a terrible famine in Israel. In the course of time Elimelech and his two sons died. Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, were left alone with no support system.

Naomi decided to return to her homeland, and Ruth courageously went with her, even though she would be leaving her native Moab to live as a foreigner in Israel. Her future was incredibly uncertain, and she was extremely vulnerable. Enter Boaz.

Boaz was a wealthy and noble man of high social standing. He was just the kind of man who could have ignored two struggling widows, especially one who was a foreigner. But Boaz was a man of godly character who exercised his duty to protect those who are weak and were at risk. He personally saw to it that their basic needs were met. He kept watch over Ruth as she worked to help, support her mother-in-law. As the near relative of her deceased husband, Boaz chose to marry Ruth and assume the provision and protection for her and aging Naomi.

Life provides many, many opportunities to serve others by protecting them or their interests. Ultimately, God wants Christians to demonstrate His character by being willing to protect anyone —especially the most defenseless among the society.

– In Christianity, Real Men Take Responsibility

Many today would rather talk about their “rights” than their obligations and duties, but there has never been a greater need for men who are willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Real men do not take a woman’s most precious gifts (her heart, mind and body) without having committed through marriage to keep them forever. Engaging in physical intimacy with a woman before marriage is stealing. It is taking something that is not yours, which is an irresponsible failure to respect or protect the woman —and it is a sin, a violation of God’s law.

A real man doesn’t use excuses about being caught up in the passion of the moment and not being able to resist temptation. That story doesn’t carry much weight with God. It is possible to resist!

A man who takes responsibility for his actions has the wisdom to anticipate compromising situations and think proactively about how to avoid them. Translation: vertical thinking men avoid being alone in intimate circumstances with a woman before marriage! The book of Proverbs puts it this way:

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.” [27:12]

– Becoming A Real Man

There are many situations in life where we can do the right thing only by taking responsibility for our own actions. Ultimately, God wants Christians to demonstrate His character by being willing to take responsibility for everything they do, protect those in need and deeply respect women.

Never miss an opportunity to practice these three key concepts of true manliness. You can avoid the trap of false masculinity and its negative consequences by shouldering your responsibility to protect and respect so that in the end you will truly, in God’s eyes, be a real man.

– Three (3) Characteristics That Define A Real Man

Society today is confused about masculinity. Looking back thousands of years, what lessons of masculinity can we learn from the most important Man to ever walk the earth according to Christians?

Today’s society is in confusion on the subject of manhood and masculinity. Multiple definitions exist of what exactly masculinity is— from John Wayne to Homer Simpson — and some people question whether there should even be such a thing as masculinity. Modern psychology has introduced the idea that gender traits are nothing but a social construct.

The influence of the homosexual lifestyle, mainstream media and the fashion industry has promoted an effeminate standard for males. From wearing longer hair to an inordinate focus on fashion and style — many have wondered if traditional manhood and masculinity are gone.

In Christianity, today’s human ideas about masculinity and manhood are a far cry from the example Christ set in the flesh for all humanity, including males, to follow. But the Bible states:

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” [1 Peter 2:21]

Yes, Jesus Christ came to earth as a male human and therefore is the standard of masculinity that every Christian male should strive to be. This article will look at three ways Jesus Christ set an example for proper masculinity:

1. Christ didn’t crack under pressure and discomfort

The fourth chapter of Luke recounts Christ’s 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Despite being offered literally all that the world has to give (Luke 4:5), Christ stayed strong and showed the devil he was wasting his time.

Christ showed the same strength as He faced the prospect of a torturous death of pain and agony. Though He experienced anxiety because of the extreme pain He was facing, Christ had the strength and willpower to move forward and say:

“Not as I will, but as You will.” [Matthew 26:39]

Men must have this resolve — this commitment to do what is right no matter what the temptation or danger. Masculinity, in its purest godly form, is this unbreakable will to obey God and lead in what is right, regardless of the cost in comfort or popularity.

Implications for men today: Compromising what is right is simply not an option. We must be convicted in what we believe and exercise the strength of character to make right decisions based on our beliefs. This world desperately needs men (and women!) of conviction who will not compromise what is right and will uphold high standards of conduct.

2. Christ worked hard and always did what was necessary

Even at an early age, Christ told His parents:

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” [Luke 2:49]

Once His ministry started, Christ was constantly at work: healing, teaching, correcting, rebuking, comforting and preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Christ said in John 5:17 that:

“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

Whatever the need was, Christ made sure He filled it.

Men are supposed to be hard workers, making the necessary sacrifices for their mates and families. When needs present themselves, masculinity goes to work and starts on solutions to problems and doing what is needed for situations. There are times for rest, relaxation and recreation; however, masculinity is goal-focused and goal-oriented and respects priorities. The Scriptures teach that Christian work and activities should always be done with his maximum effort:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” [Ecclesiastes 9:10]

Implications for men today: Prioritized responsibilities always come before wants. Christians must keep their commitments and never let video games, sports, movies or any recreation, crisis and chaos interfere with what really matters in their lives (spiritual growth, relationships, jobs, serving, etc.).

3. Christ was bold and confident

Despite how misguided “Christian” art portrays Jesus Christ, He was not a long-haired, pale, effeminate man who walked around in a white robe with a halo!

Christ was a strong, powerful and, at times, forceful man. Christ stood up to the most influential religious and political authorities of His time and pulled no punches. Matthew 23 records Christ fully revealing the hypocrisy, hatred and danger of the Pharisee’s doctrine. He did this with ultimate confidence and boldness. Christ showed physical force and strength when He responded to those misusing the temple to take advantage of people and defiling God’s temple (John 2:16). Christ was no stranger to making important decisions; in fact, He prayed all night before choosing His twelve (12) disciples (Luke 6:12). Still, He made these bold and confident decisions because of His trust in God to guide Him.

Admittedly, many times, some Christians are unsure as to whether they are doing what God wants them to do. Yet using the Bible as their compass and knowing that God is there to guide them and help them, they need to have the masculine trait of being “strong and of good courage.” [Deuteronomy 31:6]

Implications for men today: Get the facts and step out on faith. You must lead your families with courage and not with uncertainty and fear. You must take the initiative when you are needed and be brave. You cannot be dominated by indecisiveness and timidity. You will protect and provide for your families, as God protects and provides for you all.

In Christianity, Christ was the only man who was really “the Man.” His example of masculinity can help men today break out of society’s many false ideas about what boys and men should be. Instead of developing your manhood based on societal ideas, study the life of Jesus Christ and work to be the kind of Man He was!

– Real Christians Are To Be Peacemakers

The purpose of this “Christ vs. Christianity” article is to show how many churches and individuals today who profess the name of Christ teach and practice things that are directly contrary to what Jesus Christ actually taught. If you would judge Jesus Christ by some of those who profess to follow Him, you might think that Jesus would be an advocate of individual’s expression of disdain and even hatred toward their “enemies” and of nation’s reliance on battle-hardened military might.

But is this actually what Jesus stood for — or would stand for today?The Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5, 6 and 7) is one of the most detailed teachings of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament. In this vital and important Sermon, Jesus Christ laid out the central facets of the way of life He taught His followers.

One of the central themes of the Sermon on the Mount is Christ’s expectation that His followers be characterized by peace — not by crisis, violence or war.

In the famous opening to this great Sermon known as the Beatitudes, Jesus taught:

“Blessed and happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” [Matthew 5:9]

Therefore, real Christ’s followers should be characterized by living a way that leads to peace — totally the opposite of a life characterized by violence, chaos and strife.

The Christian standard of being a peacemaker is found throughout the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote that Christians are to do whatever possible to:

“Live peaceably with all men.” [Romans 12:18]

Many scriptures support the basic truth that Christians are to:

“Pursue peace with all people.” [Hebrews 12:14; see also 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22; James 3:17]

– Christ And The Spirit Of The Sixth Commandment

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Jesus Christ also made a shocking statement in commenting on the Sixth Commandment (of the 10 Commandments). He said:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hellfire.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

Jesus was expanding the meaning of the Sixth Commandment by revealing the spirit of the law against taking human life. Jesus showed that it’s not just the physical act of murder that breaks the Sixth Commandment. Inner anger and hostility toward other human beings also break this law.

Yes, having feelings of hatred toward other human beings is a sin and breaks the Sixth Commandment!

The rest of the Bible elaborates on this key statement by Christ. Notice what John wrote:

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” [1 John 3:15]

Many other scriptures make it clear that hating another person is sin and breaks this commandment: [2 Corinthians 12:20 ; Titus 3:3 ; 1 John 2:9-11]

The ultimate intent of this commandment is to help Christians understand that God wants them to show love toward other human beings: [Mark 12:31 ; 1 John 2:10]

– Christ’s approach

Notice this teaching later in the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. …“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” [Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44]

These words could be considered some of the hardest to apply of all of Jesus Christ’s teachings! The Gospel accounts show us that Jesus not only taught this standard, but practiced it: [Matthew 10:23; 26:51-53 ; Luke 4:28-30 ; John 8:49; 10:39]

Real Christians should operate on the principle found in Romans 13:10:

“Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

– The implications

Jesus Christ’s teachings and practices are very clear when we honestly read the four Gospel accounts. Real Christ’s followers are to demonstrate love for others — and one major way they are to demonstrate love is through a life of peace and nonviolence.

Jesus Christ wants His followers to put their trust in Him for protection and to be noted for their peace and love for others! The Kingdom of God, the focus of Jesus Christ’s message, is all about how Jesus will bring peace to the world: [Isaiah 9:7]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! If you can remember, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma had, at the convocation of Taraba State University last week, urged Nigerians to resort to self-defence in the face of unending killings across the country.

Respected Nigerians! TY Danjuma’s statement is a threat to the peace in Taraba state and Nigeria in general. He should be prosecuted for treasonable felony.

He also accused the military of complicity in the killings, especially in Taraba, where he said that the “herdsmen” were being aided in killing innocent citizens.

And you see, some people, who are the enemies of their country (Nigeria) supported him in this dangerous call and unguarded statements. And as you all knows, if the war break out in the country you will not see them, they will all run with their family, living the poor people and their children in the country killing themselves. Let those people fear their creator, let them repent before it’s too late.

This are not the characteristics of real men. Real men will always contribute to the unity, progress, development and peaceful coexistence of their communities and their country. They will not and never call on people to slaughter themselves.

As you see, all the religions teaches it’s followers to live in peace, so we don’t know were those people got their own teachings.

* The Killings In Zamfara State

Dear Brothers and Sisters! What is actually happening in my State, Zamfara, of massacre, abduction and killing of innocent and defenseless people, of sacking and looting of communities need a deliberate and decisive approach from those charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties – the state and federal governments and all the stakeholders in the security of our dear state.

Innocent and defenseless people are silently being killed everyday in Zamfara State.

I ask Allah the Almighty, in His infinite mercy, to give the Zamfara people peace and tranquility and to give our leaders the strength and the wisdom to do the needful.

Our leaders must not fail and turn a blind eye against those that are under their leadership. The fear of standing in front of Allah to be questioned should force us to rearrange our thought pattern. We must not because of this world mortgage our Hereafter.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Fellow Nigerians! As Muslims and fellow humans, we should remember the oppressed people everywhere in the world in our prayers.

May Allah protect our country, Nigeria, from evil people and mischief makers, ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi state, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists/Khawarij, Murderers And Killers In A Wrong Way, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

To proceeds:

Dear Servants of Allah! As you know, the female students of the Government Girls Secondary Technical College Daphi, Yobe State, who were abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists last month were Alhamdulillah released. Though five of them were reported to have died and one still in captivity.

Thanks be to Almighty Allah for their release. I, on behalf of the congregations of our Mosques rejoices with the schoolgirls, their parents, their relations, the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Army, all the security agents and the entirety of Nigerians for the early return of the girls. But I pray that they were released without paying any ransom to the terrorists.

We indeed have every reason to make some sigh of relief with this uncommon and happy development. May the remaining one, Leah Sheribu, be speedily returned and reunited with her families. And May Allah the Almighty have mercy to the lives of the departed ones, and to make Jannatul Firdaws be their last abode. May the nightmarish incidence of their abduction and their release never be repeated again in the country. Ameen.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Let everyone know that, if it is true as has being widely speculated, the Nigerian government enters into a negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij on the basis of paying ransom to them, wallahi it will be weakness, incompetence and failure of the government.

For example, if the terrorists laid down their arms first, adopted peaceful path and put forward demands in the form of dialogue, it was responsibility of the government to listen to them.

Rightful demands should be accepted from them while unjustified ones should be rejected.

Conducting negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij before breaking their back was wrong, and was not in accordance with the Noble Quran and Sunnah. But unfortunately our leaders and our politicians did not adopt this approach prescribed by the Noble Quran and Sunnah because of their selfish and political interests.

If this kind wrong negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij were to be held, why had the kidnappers, thieves, robbers, killers and all the remaining criminals been put behind the bars and why were they being prosecuted in the courts of law? Dialogue should also be conducted with them, adding that the entire legal and judicial system should be done away with them and all issues should be settled through dialogue. It was all right to hold dialogue but there should be proper time and manner of holding it.

The power of terrorists, extremists, khawarij, kidnappers, robbers, cattle-rustlers, armed bandits, aggressors and rebels should be broken first, compelling them to accept the writ of the state, adopt peaceful path and resort to talks by laying down arms.

The terrorists/khawarij had occupied parts of the country and created state within the state. They had killed thousands of innocent people including personnel of security forces and still continued on the killing spree. The people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had been struggling for many years with the dead bodies of their near and dear ones killed by the terrorists.

Then as to what was the crime of these people and what they were being punished for? Public places, Mosques, Churches, religious leaders and security forces were being attacked with abandon and the people were being slaughtered mercilessly. There was no doubt about the fact that the terrorists wanted to get their demands accepted through use of brute force and power. The government’s decision to hold talks in these circumstances reflected weak point of view and lack of firm resolve.

Therefore, we made it clear that those who insisted on the option of talks with the terrorists were in fact protecting them and supporting their philosophy and ideology. Those who indulged in terrorist acts were no martyrs, rather they were cowards, miscreants and mischief makers who worked on the agenda of their financiers. These terrorists wanted to undermine the nuclear status of this country. They are own their own. They are not working for or on behalf of Islam and the Muslims.

And there was a particular segment of the Ulama’ in Nigeria who did not take a clear stance on terrorists by being silent or by making confused statements and shifted the entire blame on the international communities. New issues were raised in a manner that the real problem and questions about conduct of the terrorists were left behind. The purpose behind this deliberate campaign was to keep the nation confused.

There was no denying the importance of talks in principle but it was the question of how and when and from position of strength or weakness. The people had been divided along the ideological lines and confusion was created in this manner. We should neither be slave to the international communities nor should we go to war with them, we should not compromise upon our independence and sovereignty. Some religious figures collected dollars and euros wrongly in the name of preaching. Wallahi, as long as wrong foreign money continued to flow into Nigeria, as long as government pay ransom to terrorists, terrorism would continue. Wal iyazu billah.

My respected people! Boko Haram are khawarij, the dogs of hellfire!!! There can be no wrong negotiations with such murderers and killers. If you can remember, the government did dialogue with them years back and signed the agreement, but the agreement did not go anywhere. They continued with their acts of terrorism. They can only be crushed, by force.

If there is anyone within their ranks who want to do Tauba, who want to repent, then they must openly declare that Nigeria is legitimate state and fighting against Nigeria is Haram!!! Only then, there can be any talks for giving them exit. If they continue to declare Nigeria as illegitimate state and consider killing of Nigerians as “Halal”, then there can be no talks with terrorists/khawarij.

I warn the leaders of Nigeria, I warn the politicians, for making any surrender against these animals. Talks can be done with human, NOT with “dogs of hellfire”!!! Keep this Ruling of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in front of you when you talk about the terrorists/khawarij of Boko Haram.

The Messenger of Allah said:

“…If I live to see them (khawarij/terrorists) I will kill them like the killing of (the people of Aad).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And unless we eliminate those underlying conditions that allow Boko Haram enjoy local support, the future will augur very badly. When our elites consider leaving our people in ignorance, in poverty and in disease as an official policy and elevate corruption to a status surpassing all good virtues, we ask for Boko Haram and Boko Haram we shall get.

For now, for any meaningful development or rehabilitation to thrive, we have to win the war to preserve the peace. We have to up our game. Our capabilities should keep pace with Boko Haram dynamism. Negotiating with terrorists may bring temporary lull and short-term political benefits but risk emboldening them in the long-run, setting a dangerous precedent.

Nations do not buy peace through appeasement but through sacrifice. Boko Haram’s jihadist utopia is incompatible with true Islam and the realities of our 21st century. They cannot be reconciled by any stretch of compromise. Boko Haram and its terror allies know only one language – defeat. We have to do whatever it takes to defeat Boko Haram and their murderous ideology that fuels it, even as its consequences will continue to echo long after it is militarily extinguished.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Let me quote my brother, Professor Farooq A. Kperogi who said:

“After the usual, predictable protestations from government officials to the effect that no ransom had been paid to the terrorists to secure the release of the girls, Sahara Reporters disclosed on Wednesday that five million euros had been paid to the Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram. “But a source who also participated in the negotiations with Boko Haram that led to release of over 80 Chibok girls in 2017 told Sahara Reporters that the federal government not only made the ransom payment of five million euros to the insurgents,” the paper wrote, adding that government “also exchanged some Boko Haram prisoners in return for the Dapchi girls.”

It’s easy to dismiss this as speculative or even made-up, but examples from the immediate past should give us cause for pause. For instance, the government had denied paying any money to the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram for the release of 80 Chibok girls, but Wall Street Journal’s explosive and exhaustive report of December 24, 2017 proved beyond all shadows of doubt that “Nigeria paid a secret ransom of €3 million to free some of the kidnapped schoolgirls.”

Three million euros adds up to nearly 1.5 billion naira. In another case, the BBC reported that the government paid a hefty ransom to Boko Haram. “The ransom was €2m. Boko Haram asked for euros. They chose the suspects and gave us the list of girls who would be freed,” BBC quoted a source as confiding in them. It’s pointless recounting all the numerous credible revelations of ransom payments to Boko Haram by the government because it was the subject of my column two weeks ago, but the point being made is that Boko Haram is now better financed by the Nigerian government than our military is.

And, as sure as tomorrow’s date, the terrorist group will continue to use the war chest handed to them by our government to unleash more terror, abduct more girls, and earn more money. It has become a profitable racket. While it’s hard to make the case that money shouldn’t be paid to secure the release scared, innocent girls, it’s also good to remember that the money paid to secure the release of some girls will be used to abduct other girls and inflict harm on others. So ransom payment isn’t a sustainable strategy. Any country that purchases its peace will perpetually be indebted to war.

But more than that, Boko Haram is now winning the ideational war. For instance, reports said that when members of the group returned the Dapchi girls, they stayed for a bit and preached against girl-child education. They told the girls to never go to school again or risk abduction. In a region that desperately needs education, especially girl-child education, we’ve been set back by probably five decades.

No responsible parents will send their daughters to school again. The girls’ life is infinitely more important than their education. Similarly, Boko Haram is clearly now being unwittingly lionized, deodorized, decriminalized, and mainstreamed by the government. The photos and videos shared by the Daily Nigerian online newspaper of jubilant crowds cheering Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi while the group freely hoists its flag is disconcerting. The terrorist group isn’t just being financed by the Buhari government through handsome ransom payments; it is also being unintentionally glamorized.

There is no bigger recruitment tool for the group than this. It’s a loud message that crime does pay.” [See Daily Trust Newspaper of Saturday, March 24, 2018]

* Below is the Right Way To Debate and Dialogue With the Terrorists/Khawarij

Ibn Abbas narrated that:

“When the Haruriyyah, the Khawarij, the terrorists rebelled in the time of Khalifah Ali Bin Abi Talib, they isolated themselves in a place. There were 6000 of them and they were united in rebelling against  Ali’s government. Continuously people would come to Ali and say, “Oh Leader of  the Believers, verily these people are rebelling against you.” He  would reply, “Leave them, verily I will not fight them until they fight us and that is what they will do.” So when it came to that day, I came to Ali before the noon prayer and I said to him, “Oh Leader of the Believers, delay the prayer until it is cooler perhaps I will speak to these people.”

He said: “Verily, I fear for you.” I said, “Never! I used to be known as a man of good manners, I never harmed anyone.” He gave me permission to go. So, I put on a very nice garment, the best of what one could get from Yemen and I combed my hair. Then, I visited them at midday while they were eating. I had entered upon a people, the likes of whom I had never seen with regards to their exertion in worship. Their foreheads were wounded due to their (constant) prostration (in prayer) and their hands had become rough like camel’s feet, wearing recently washed, untidy shirts with very high raised clothing and with tired and worn out faces [due to not caring for themselves].

So, I greeted them and they said,  “Welcome, oh son of Abbas! And what is this cloak you are  wearing?” I asked, “What deficiency do you see from me? Indeed, I saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) dressed in the best of what you can find in Yemeni clothing, then I recited this verse to them:

“Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good things of provision?” [Quran, 7: 32]

Then they asked: “What has brought you here?” I told them, “I have come to you from amongst the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) – the Muhajirun and the Ansar and from the son of the uncle of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) (Ali Bin Abi Talib), who is his son-in-law. And upon them descended the Quran; they are more knowledgeable about it than you and there is not one of them (the Companions) amongst you. I have come to convey to you what they say, and to convey to them what you say.” A group amongst them said, “Do not debate with the Quraysh because verily Allah, the Almighty says:

“Nay! But they are a quarrelsome people.” [Quran, 43: 58]

Then a group of them turned towards me and two or three of them  said: “Verily, we will speak to him.” So I said: “Come forward, what is the grudge you have against the Companions of the Allah’s Messenger and your leader, the son of his uncle (Ali Bin Abi Talib)?” They answered: “Three points.” I asked: “And what are they?” They said: “One of the points is that he (Khalifah Ali Bin Abi Talib) had men judge in a matter of Allah while Allah says:

“The judgment is for none but Allah.” [Quran, 6: 57 and Quran, 12: 40,  67]

“What have men got to do with the judgment?” I said: “This is one point.” They said: “As for the second point, then he fought people and he did not take captives nor did he take the war booty (Ghanimah). If they were disbelievers, then their captives are permissible for us and if they were believers then their captives are neither permissible to take nor was it allowed to fight them (in the first place).” I said: “This is the second point, and what is the third point?” Or he said something similar. They said: “He removed the title of ‘Leader of the Believers’ (Amir al-Mu’minin) from his name, and if he is not the ‘Leader of the Believers’ then he is the ‘Leader of the Disbelievers’ (Amir al-Kafirin).” I asked: “Do you have any points other than these?” They  replied: “These are sufficient for us.” I said to them: “Do you understand that if I read to you from the book of Allah the Almighty and from the Sunnah of His Prophet (Peace be upon him) that which refutes what you say, will you then return (back)?” They said: “Yes.” I said: “As for your statement that Ali had men judge in a matter that was for Allah; then I will read to you from the book of Allah, where Allah has delegated His judgment to men regarding the eighth of a quarter of a dirham. Allah the Most High commanded the people to judge in this matter. Do you not understand the saying of Allah the Almighty:

“Oh you who believe, do not kill the game while you are in a state of  Ihram, and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, then the penalty is an offering equivalent to the one he killed, as judged by two just men among you.” [Quran, 5: 95]

And it is from the judgment of Allah that He delegated men to judge  in this matter. If Allah willed, He could have judged in this matter but  He allowed men to judge. I ask you by Allah, is it better that men judge in something regarding reconciliation in disputes and in preventing bloodshed or regarding the hunting of a rabbit? They said: “Of course, this is better.” And regarding a woman and her husband Allah says:

“If you fear a breach between the husband and wife, appoint two  arbitrators: one from his family and the other from hers.” [Quran, 4: 35]

Is not men judging in reconciling disputes and in the prevention of  bloodshed better than men judging regarding the private parts of a  woman? Have we finished with this point? They replied: “Yes.” I said: “As for your statement, ‘He fought but did not take captives and did  not take war booty,’ then would you take your mother (in Islam),  Aisha, as a captive, making her permissible for yourselves for that  which you make permissible from other than her while she is your  mother? If you say, ‘We make permissible from her that which we  make permissible from other than her,’ then you have committed  disbelief. And if you say, “She is not our mother,” then you have also  committed disbelief. Allah the Most High said:

“The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” [Quran, 33: 6]

And so you are between the two ill judgments. So, which of them do you want to take? Have we finished with this point? They replied: “Yes.” As for Khalifah Ali removing the title of ‘Leader of Believers’, then I will give you something that will please you; verily, the Prophet of Allah contracted an agreement with the Mushrikin (the disbelievers of Quraysh) on the Day of Sulh Hudaybiyyah, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Ali: “Write, oh Ali: This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, agrees with. They, the Mushrikin, said, ‘If we knew you to be the Messenger of Allah, we would not have fought you.’ So the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “Oh Allah, indeed You know that I am Your Messenger.”

Erase it, Ali, and write: This is what Muhammad Ibn Abdullah agrees upon. “I swear by Allah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is better than Ali and even he erased his own name, and erasing his name does not erase his Prophethood.” Have we finished with this point? They said: “Yes.” So 2,000 of them came back while the rest (4,000) of them rebelled and fought, based upon their misguidance, and the Companions of the Prophet, Muhajirun and Ansar fought them.”

[Narrated by al-Darimi in his Sunan and Bahshal in Tarikh Wasit. This narration is reported on the authority of Amr Ibn Salmah and  authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah as-Sahihah, vol. 5 page 12-13. There are other narrations of this story. It has been narrated by Abdullah Ibn Ahmad in Zawa’id al-Zuhud, page 428, and by Abu Nu’aim in Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 4 page 380-381. Also recorded by al-?abrani in al-Kabir, vol. 9 page 125-126 and by Abdul-Razzaq in al-Mussannaf, no. 5409.  Al-Haythami narrated it in Mu’jam al-Zawa’id, vol. 1 page 181.

As for the narration of Abdul-Razzaq and al-Tabrani, it has been authenticated by al-Haythami in Mu’jam al-Zawa’id, vol. 1 page 181. The narration of Abu Nu’aim in al-Hilyat was reported on the authority of Abu Za’rah. Recorded by Abdul-Razzaq in his book al-Mussannaf no. 18678, Musnad Ahmad vol. 1 page 243, al-Mustadrak of Imam al-Hakim vol. 2 page 150152, Ibn Abdul-Barr in his book Jami’ Bayanil Ilm wa fadlihi, vol. 2 page 962-964/1834 and  others. This story has many other narrations in al-Kabir and Munazzarat a’immah as-Salaf, page 8991, and some of them were authenticated by al-Haythami]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! This is the right way of debating with the terrorists/khawarij. Show them that they are on the wrong way. They must surrender to the state or else you fight and kill them. You cannot negotiate with them like they have power or any authority.

Allah the Most High said:

“And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable.” [Quran, 49: 9]

Imam Al-Ajuri said:

“Neither the scholars of old nor of these times, ever differed about the Khawarij (terrorists). They regarded them as an evil people who were disobedient to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, and His Messenger, even though they prayed, fasted and exerted themselves in worship, and all of this was of no benefit to them, even though they were apparent in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and that did not benefit them because they were a people who interpret the Quran upon their desires.” [See Kitabush-Shari’ah by Imam al-Ajuri; Chapter: Rebuking the Khawarij and their evil Madhhab, and the permissibility of killing them, and the reward for killing them and the one killed by them, vol.1 page 325]

 Ali Bin Abi Talib – Allah be pleased with him – said:

“Do not be with the sinner (fajir), for he will beautify to you the things he does, and he will want you to be like him; and he will beautify to you the worst of his practices; and his entrance upon you and leaving from your company will cause ignominy and discredit [of you]. And do not accompany the fool (ahmaq), for he will exhaust himself [to help you] but will not benefit you, and he may want to benefit you but end up harming you; his silence is better than his speaking, his distance is better than his closeness, and him dying is better than him living. And do not accompany the liar, for life will not benefit you with him, he will tell others what you say, and tell you what others say; and if you speak the truth, it will not be believed.” [Abu Bakr Al-Daynuri, in Al-Mujalasah wa Jawahiril Ilm no. 1379]

* The Khawarij/Terrorists come with beautiful preaching but evil deeds

Anas Ibn Malik reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: There will be division and sectarianism in my nation and the Khawarij (terrorists) will come with beautiful words and evil deeds. They will recite the Quran but it will not pass beyond their throats. They will leave the religion as an arrow leaves its target and they will not return to it as the arrow does not return to its bow. They are the worst of the creation. Blessed are those who fight them and are killed by them. They call to the Book of Allah but they have nothing to do with it. Whoever fights them is better to Allah than them.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

And Imam Ibn Kathir said:

“If the Khawarij ever gained power, they would corrupt the entire earth, Iraq, and Syria. They would not leave alone a boy or a girl or a man or a woman, for in their view the people have become so corrupt that they cannot be reformed except by mass killing.” [See al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya, vol. 10 page 584]

Allah knows best.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reach via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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